Muffled, immeasurable and occasionally tepid - Warpaint’s initial two records are beamed through a foggy cloud of hazed reverb. Particularly their self-titled offering, which transpired as a distorted soup of eerie harmony and languorous bass hums – like a more recumbent take on Tame Impala’s Lonerism.
However the girls’ latest edition boasts a stronger sense of immediacy than anything before it. Barring the introductory track - which still has one foot in album two - the opening half of ‘Heads Up’ reveals a new-found pop prowess.
‘By Your Side’ proves this with its groovy beat beneath hauntingly flickering synths, which compliment an indecisive yet intricate bassline. Even more so does the ultra-lean ‘New Song’ – which is stripped of any sluggish, sagging fat holding back the commercial potential of previous album spearheads. It’s the sort of accessible-yet-sacrifice-free banger set to be spun at indie club-nights aplenty.
A mammoth-wide breadth of ideas is tossed into the mixer, in what’s seemingly a free reign of creativity. Tracks range from the withheld and snaking grumbly basslines of ‘Don’t Wanna’ and ‘Dre’, to the more crisp and ‘au natural’ production of ‘Above Control’ and ‘Don’t Let Go’.
Sandwiched between the album’s direct openings and its more wandering and experimental conclusions, ‘So Good’ encapsulates the four-piece’s mission statement. Its initial bars of thick basslines and crunching beats resonate Wild Beasts’ searing new venture, until a warped analogue solo carves open a descent through deep marshy psychedelia.
This is ultimately brave and sprawling art-rock. But significantly - evidence of Warpaint’s rapid, progressive and most successful evolution yet.