sat 02/07/2022

Album: Warpaint - Radiate Like This | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Warpaint - Radiate Like This

Album: Warpaint - Radiate Like This

The LA four-piece return with a carefully crafted and beautifully considered collection

'An album that doesn't demand attention, it warrants it'

Radiate Like This is the first album in six years from American indie rock outfit Warpaint. The wait is, in part at least, down to Covid, which took hold just after they’d finished early recording sessions, forcing the band – like the rest of the world – into a solitary stasis of sorts.

This resulted in time to tinker – space to iron out the creases and finesse the folds as band members Emily Kokal, Jenny Lee Lindberg, Stella Mozgawa and Theresa Wayman recorded their parts in isolation, building the songs slowly, carefully, layer by layer.

The result is really quite beautiful. While previous albums, most notably 2016’s Heads Up and its 2014 eponymous predecessor, had a spontaneous spirit at their core – from the post-punk disco rhythms of “Disco//Very” to the languid-loose limbs of tracks such as R&B-influenced “Dre” – Radiate Like This, by comparison, feels more considered, more complete… more accomplished even.

The whole thing is awash with lush, enveloping chords and sweeping harmonies bolstered by bass that surrounds the listener and boosts the emotional pitch. This kind of dream pop sensibility has always been there with Warpaint, of course, but here they’ve leant into it like they’re cornering a motorcycle at speed.

New single and album opener “Champion” is a good example. Fleetwood Mac levels of laid-back sophistication and shoegaze guitar squalls sit in perfect balance on top of a bottom line that anchors everything with confidence and clarity.  

“Hips” is a similar high point, as is the wave-upon-wave flow of “Proof”, but picking favourites here is a fool’s errand. Nothing feels extraneous, everything works on its own terms and as part of a larger whole which, given the album’s unusual genesis, feels entirely as it should be.

Ultimately, Radiate Like This sounds like what it is – an album that has been crafted into existence. Now, for some, craftsmanlike has become a pejorative term, as if all the hours spent carefully honing something can remove substance from its core – leaving flames but no fire.

It’s not true, of course. While raw recordings can connect us to the truth of a piece in the shortest distance, there’s just as much satisfaction to be found in detailed decoration and focused finesse. And that’s the space this collection inhabits. Radiate Like This doesn't demand attention, it warrants it. The sharp edges have been painstakingly burred and the surfaces smoothed with such care that it could slip by without you noticing, if you let it.

Don’t. 

Warpaint have leant into a dream pop sensibility like they’re cornering a motorcycle at speed

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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