In fact there is a strong feeling of Déja Vu at work here. I remember the first time I saw The Cure at Hammersmith Odeon in 1980 just after the release of ‘Seventeen Seconds’ and was mesmerised by their minimal gated drums and chiming chorused guitars. It was a studied architectural sound when all around, the rest of the world was snarling and making as much punky noise as possible. Listening to Warpaint gives me that same sense of wonder 30 years on. Their sound is very much rooted in the intricate gothic structures of The Cure and Siouxsie and the Banshees only it is flecked with the sunny disposition of California rather than dour new-town-ness and suburban uniformity of Crawley and Bromley.
Interestingly, their setup of twin guitars/vocals, bass and drums mirrors that of that other west coast female band, the Bangles yet their sound couldn’t be more different. Don’t you just love how rock can spawn such variety from the same roots? It’s what keeps us all interested after all this time.
As suggested by their name, their music has a slightly tribal quality that manifests itself as a trance-dance flow that draws you into its unique ritual where you half expect virgins to be sacrificed at any moment. There are no solos, just intricate rhythms and carefully constructed guitar and bass figures underpinning muted vocal harmonies. Lovely stuff when you’re in the mood but perhaps a little frustrating when you’re not. Sometimes you just want to shake them out of their carefully constructed cathedral and tell them to let go and lash up a tent on the moors. Perhaps this will come with maturity in the same way that ‘Love Cats’ followed ‘A Forest’ for Bob and his mates.
Nevertheless, ‘Fool’ is a fine achievement for a debut album and I shall be agog to see what happens next. Here is ‘Undertow’ from their appearance on Jools Holland earlier this year.