Published Sep 21, 2016Los Angeles quartet Warpaint have returned with a third studio album, Heads Up, displaying their strength as a group after a gruelling tour schedule and near breakup in support of 2014's Warpaint caused them to rethink their approach. Often working separately as they balanced various side projects, the recording sessions for Heads Up have resulted in an eclectic, nuanced collection of songs.
Lead single "New Song" shows the band leaning in a pop direction with an infectious hook and taut bass, while the dark production of "By Your Side" (akin to PJ Harvey's work with Flood on Is This Desire?) feels empowering and unified: "Now I know, I'm not alone. Got my girls, I'm not alone," they chant.
Warpaint have written some of the best songs of their career on Heads Up. Standout "The Stall" is laid back yet brooding, Jenny Lee Lindberg's bass and Stella Mozgawa's sparse drumming providing exquisite atmosphere and establishing a solid groove. When it's coupled with the lyrics, "So break down, you know, you need, you want to, break out," catharsis ensues.
The band marry a sense of worry and agitation to comforting lyrics on the rhythmic "So Good." Sweet vocal harmonies and a sense that everything could fall apart musically heighten the tension of "Heads Up," while "Above Control" pairs anxiety with the fluid playing that Warpaint have perfected. The band sound rejuvenated on Heads Up, solidifying their place as one of the most cohesive and adventurous bands out there. (Rough Trade)