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Warpaint - Radiate Like This (Album Review)

Wednesday, 11 May 2022 Written by Jacob Brookman

Photo: Mia Kirby

It is hard to maintain friendships over decades. Outlooks and priorities change, while the world moves around you, picking things up and putting them down in inconvenient places. It’s little wonder, perhaps, that Warpaint took six years to record their fourth studio album, moulding and crafting a release that develops their 2010s art-indie sound into something that feels fresh and contemporary.

‘Radiate Like This’ is a success: the low slung vocals of Emily Kokal remain elegant and elusive, emerging from a warm mix of shuffling rhythms and reverby guitars. This fundamental sound is given wings on the marvellous Hard To Tell You, a track that has epic ballad qualities while still feeling evasively soft and restrained.

There is occasionally a mystical quality to Warpaint’s sound, mixed up with elusive vocals, distant synths and lyrics that appear to have no words.

This semi-hypnosis is arrested on Stevie, a nimble lovesong that is warm and generous, with excellent vocal blend and passing chords. The track recalls some of the soulful interface on UK pop singer Seal’s first album, recorded in 1991 and standing between the high stakes 1980s and occasionally ecstatic 1990s.

It doesn’t all land. Warpaint have always had forgettable music in their locker. Like Sweetness and Proof both suffer from this, despite some skilful layered vocals on the latter. In this regard, you can call them more of an album band, creating LPs that really benefit from the full listen and work better on long journeys and deep flow state. But the musical output of a group needs to be assessed on its own merits, and ‘Radiate Like This’ is very good indeed as a long listen.

And it also feels so natural and truly collaborative. As has been mentioned in the album’s publicity, the group took time out between records to focus on their own projects and personal lives. This shows in the music—this album sounds like it was made by musicians in excellent creative harmony, with security, calmness, love and respect between the lines. These qualities are often under-appreciated in musical groups.

Warpaint Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Wed May 11 2022 - BRISTOL O2 Academy Bristol
Thu May 12 2022 - MANCHESTER Albert Hall
Fri May 13 2022 - GLASGOW SWG3
Sat May 14 2022 - DUBLIN National Stadium
Tue May 17 2022 - BEXHILL ON SEA De La Warr Pavilion
Wed May 18 2022 - LONDON Roundhouse

Compare & Buy Warpaint Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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