Album Review: Warpaint – Heads Up

L.A.’s ultimate girl band, Warpaint have finally dropped their highly anticipated third record, “Heads Up” and by god did they deliver with this one. Underneath their woozy harmonies, Warpaint blend their hazy hooks and intoxicating bass-lines together to create the perfect meld of indie-rock, pop and R&B.

A curling guitar opens the album on the first track ’Whiteout’ with a heavy emphasis on vocal harmonies heard over the top. The drum and bass-line are in perfect synchrony as vocalist Emily Kokal and Jenny Lee Lindberg harmonise, “You wouldn’t know it but you’re really in your prime”.

“Heads Up” was said to be influenced by the likes of Janet Jackson, Kendrick Lamar and Outkast – and these influences can definitely be heard on ‘By Your Side’. A dark bass drum thrums throughout the track as distorted vocals loop alongside hazy synths. ‘Don’t Wanna’ strays away from the dreamier layers of Warpaint’s sound and enters a hip-hop soundscape. Rhythmic beats and blips can be heard as murmured vocals drift seamlessly throughout the track. The layered synths and slick beats on ‘Dre’ combine the dreamier sounds of Warpaint with hip-hop, creating a hazy tune better suited for 3am.

The psychedelic and disjointed post-punk guitar riffs on ‘Don’t Let Go’ leave you in a dreamlike state. Themes of love and romance are emphasised in the layered vocals that echo and warble throughout the track. “Don’t let go, I want you / Don’t let go, I need you now”. The scuzzy guitar riffs that drift through the song retain the gritty indie-rock sound that can be heard on their previous records “The Fool” and “Warpaint”.

While the rest of “Heads Up” has a much more moody atmosphere, ‘New Song’ provides a vibrant and pop groove to the record. Addictive disco-funk beats thump throughout the song, creating a euphoric dance track that would get anyone on the dance floor in a heartbeat.

In the same vein, Lindberg’s groovy bass-line and drummer Stella Mozgawa’s funky beats in the aptly titled, ‘So Good’ and the album’s title track ‘Heads Up’ evoke the same dance-worthy disco vibe.

The record ends on a softer note with ‘Today Dear’. The track almost borders on a folk soundscape as a lilting guitar sways beneath echoing hums. Hypnotic vocal delays close off the album, with Warpaint leaving you once again in a dreamlike state.

“Heads Up” is an enchanting and atmospheric record that definitely warrants multiple listens. So, if you’re ready to be put into a trance or dance to some moody but groovy beats, Warpaint have provided the perfect album for you.