The John Frusicante produced Exquisite Corpse EP enabled the all girl quartet, Warpaint, to join other buzzed about bands (No Age, Best Coast), attracting quite the following before dropping a proper full length. At only nine songs, The Fool is 47 minutes of ethereal, progressive art punk, experimenting with eerie electronica and recommencing the dreamy rock ethos of Corpse.
Childhood friends, singers-songwriters Emily Kokal and Theresa Wayman appear nonchalant and unbothered, jamming on every track, their union of vocals subtle and unhurried. There is a certain exquisiteness to this audible combination, one that is relayed habitually on The Fool; alongside Stella Mozgawa's erratic drumming abilities and Jenny Lee Lindberg's grungy bass habits, Warpaint display valid potential to the art rock community with this debut.
“Don't you call anybody else baby/Cause I'm your baby still/You took a long time to make it/But I've never changed my mind.” Kokal and Wayman are confident as they are restless, cooing and whispering on the sole acoustic number “Baby,” playing off each other's voices on the self titled “Warpaint,” vaguely reminiscent of Red Hot Chili Peppers, but without the funk. The more aggressive, climactic moments on The Fool are channeled strictly through instrumentation, Kakal and Wayman's vocals assuming a secondary role.
First single, “Undertow,” slowly leads to this dynamic guitar solo, and though the riffs intensify, the girls' voices remain subdued, increasing in pitch but not in volume. The Fool's spaced out electronic scores like “Majesty” that have earned them comparisons to The xx; fan favorite “Composure” sounds like Bat For Lashes if Natasha Khan were recording in the late nineties.
The Fool might not the strongest debut this year has seen, but it establishes Warpaint as a band that develops their own brand of music rather than conforms to a certain genre in particular. There are melancholic moments like “Bees” where the Nirvana influence is palpable, sounding as grungy and miserable as Kurt Cobain himself. They are certainly not trying to create radio friendly music; aside from “Undertow,” which had to be released as an edit, there are no obvious singles on The Fool, no pop gems you can sing along to. Besides the heavy bass and sultry, soft vocals, the most commanding factor here is their ability to play instruments so apathetically. Kind of makes you wonder if they're playing for an audience, or just for themselves.
THE FOOL READER RATING
You can still download The Fool's first single, "Undertow" here for free.