Warpaint – Radiate Like This
After six years apart while focusing on their own projects, Warpaint band members Emily Kokal, Jenny Lee Lindberg, Theresa Wayman and Stella Mozgawa, have reunited to create new album Radiate Like This, their first since Heads Up in 2016. Notably, they did not work together physically on the project, rather, each artist composed their section separately, after which the composition was arranged remotely.
Compared to their previous enterprises, this record uses less pop and more electro-synth and drum machines. The sound combines expansive acoustic guitar, richly interwoven percussion, beautiful panoramic vocal harmonies, breezy, enigmatic rhythms, sumptuous, undulating chords and emotionally resonant bass. Merging a hip-hop influence with dream-pop and artsy rock, the music is mostly ethereal, atmospheric and passionate – but it’s also eclectic. At times it is edgy, retro, theatrical or tongue-in-cheek, rife with touches of subtle humour.
First track Champion opens with a sultry beat and scintillating layered vocals: floaty, sounding like the ocean with a touch of 80s girl band, the voices undulate and rise to a torrent of brilliant musical notes, misty guitar and dynamic percussion. The song is confident, reassuring and soothing in a time of pain and division. A light bongo beat introduces the fiery post-punk Hips. With a spiralling riff, synth tempo and sparkling lyrics, it is arty and whimsical. Hard to Tell You is soft, romantic, melancholy dream-pop with gorgeous haunting vocals. A Madonna-like solo and a soaring chorus evoke swimming in a sea of light – smooth guitar licks suggest a Cowboy Junkies vibe.
Also a single like Champion, Stevie is a stirring hip-hop and R&B melody about love, with slightly discordant guitar riffs and stunning mellow song invoking Motown girl bands. Winsome and positive, its mood is euphoric: “You make me happy”. Like Sweetness, with its cool, deep tempo and bass, is sensual, vivacious, beguiling and upbeat, about romantic longing. An exquisite soulful solo and a superb weaving of choral tones in the ruminative and mercurial Trouble combine artfully with complex piano chords and rippling guitars.
Proof emerges with mysterious, diaphanous sounds, becoming a lavish tapestry of dreamlike melodies, rich low notes and ghostly, radiant singing. Hip hop and drums introduce a sexy minimalist Altar, along with slightly bluesy, feverish solo vocals. Melting is about surrender – with gentle bongos, then intriguing, jolting instrumentals, the track is an emotive explosion. Ending on a light playful, seductive, note, capturing the high of infatuation – “Send a couple a nudes baby” – Send Nudes is a romantic and humorous romp with engaging acoustics, a dash of 80s synth and sultry singing.
Warpaint’s Radiate Like This is a remarkable, uplifting album. Energising, silken and cascading with a passionate chimerical and surreal indie sound, the work is gentle, fluent mastery.
Radiate Like This is released on 6th May 2022. For further information or to order the album visit Warpaint’s website here.
Watch the video for the single Stevie here: