Warpaint exude California in every possible way. Their music is a dreamy, sweeping haze of guitars and female vocals, careening through a soundscape of harmonies to send the listener to a place where the sun shines golden and palm trees sway. Warpaint have been garnering praise for a few years; their EP was mixed by John Frusciante and elements of his solo musical style are smattered across their debut LP, The Fool.
Lead vocalist Emily Kokal is seductive but never overtly sexual in her delivery; there’s no breathy whispers or 60s crooning mockery to be heard. It’s pure, simple female vocals talking love and heartbreak, with what sounds like a string of damaged men.
Kokal’s vocals take shape in Shadows where she cries out ‘What was the answer you wanted me to find out?’ with pleading resonance. Elsewhere she caresses a tune to life, like on the acoustic strumming heartbreaker Baby in which she tells a lover not to move on.
But it’s the pulsating undertones of Undertow that stand out; a simple bass line reverberates with gentle snare and cymbals coaxing out multi-layered harmonies. The combined elements make it greater than the sum of its parts, the romantic comedown song perfected with lines like ‘What’s the matter/you hurt yourself/opened your eyes and there was someone else.’ There’s an underlying sense of urgency that never becomes overwhelming but somehow spurs the listener on.
Whichever song you choose, it will soundtrack your summer.