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Warpaint’s rise from LA scenesters to indie darlings four years ago was driven by the power of their live sets. The follow-up to 2010s The Fool opens with the foursome laying down a fierce bass-drum beat before one of them makes a mistake and they start again. It’s a hint that the album, featuring beefed-up production from Flood and mixing from Nigel Godrich, is meant to capture both the dynamics and the riskiness of their semi-improvised live sound, an undertaking at which it proves enjoyably successful.
Drummer Stella Mozgawa and bassist Jenny Lee Lindberg are central to the songs, giving “Disco//Very” an ominous post-punk charge and “Go In” a mysterious swampy feel, while singer-guitarists Emily Kokal and Theresa Wayman sing inscrutable vocals and play reverb-treated guitar chords, an ethereal contrast to the sinewy rhythm section. Risks are taken, albeit of a modest variety, like the squelchy electronic bassline that emerges in “CC” at one point like the echo of a distant nightclub, although it soon fades away as the song settles back into its atmospheric groove.
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