Warpaint

The Fool (Rough Trade)

Phases & Stages

Warpaint

The Fool (Rough Trade)

Warpaint's 2009 EP, Exquisite Corpse, hinted at the L.A. quartet's ambidexterity, but its colors were muted. On debut LP The Fool, the highlights and lowlights intensify with every cut. Standout "Bees," with its pinging guitars, and "Composure," a slow-burning cheerleader chant, demonstrate how all four women work to tangle and untangle their three-part harmonies, heavy basslines, and moody rings of psych for maximum effect. Opener "Set Your Arms Down" and first single "Undertow" tame the rhythmic thunder that rolls throughout, and acoustic track "Baby" feels like it could explode at any minute but doesn't. In fact, its patience is its virtue. There's no stretches of feedback or squall, either; Warpaint's a textural band, and the beauty of their songs is they don't need it. Restraint is what makes The Fool so smart.

***.5

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