Los Angeles' most crucial female indie rock outfit Warpaint are back with their third effort Heads Up. With two cult classic albums behind them, there's a lot ridding on this record.
Heads Up may not be another immediate cult classic, but it definitely has its initial charm. Every listen gets better and better. Intro track 'Whiteout' opens the album with cool melodies and some sweet clean guitar vibes. First track and we're already getting in the mood of a groovy and catchy experience. It's followed by 'By Your Side', a creepier and more brooding song with more haunting harmonies and an epic build to its dramatic ending, exploding with booming bass synths and crashing drum beats.
There's a lot of groove on this record, particularly in the bass - Jenny Lee Lindberg outdid herself on this record. The basslines are the highlight of many of the tracks on the record, becoming evident first on the album's lead single 'New Song'. The swirling synths are just background to Emily Kokal and Theresa Wayman's harmonious vocals dancing with each other, Lindberg's bassline powerfully yet understatedly carrying the song through. The song ends with the bassline and synths, highlighting the life the bassline really gave it.
The bass becomes a very prevalent part of the music for the rest of the album. The deep bass carries 'Don't Wanna' through it psychedelic atmosphere, pairing with the synth. The funk of 'So Good' is carried and captured by its dinky bassline, and the minimalist picture of title track 'Head Up' features a higher energy bass track. It's not all about the bass, though: other songs have other highlights. The haunting melodies of "Don't let go, I need you now" build the jazzy, odd structure of 'Don't Let Go', the urgent acoustic guitar chords acting dynamically under the chill of the rest of the elements working in unison. Chilled guitar is what thrives in the electronically tinged 'Above Control', the beautiful harmonies accentuating it along with a driven beat. The acoustic guitar ending to the record 'Today Dear' is another strong moment, providing an atmospheric and retrospective moment on the heels of an otherwise exciting and challenging record.
If this album is missing anything, perhaps its variation. There's a lot of indie rock mixed with an electronic influence, but there is a little repetitiveness on the record. The lowest point on the record is 'Dre', which has little to offer except for an odd, experimental electronic vibe. There are cool concept on the song, but it could be a lot more fleshed out. It's an experiment that could've used more - that's the most negative comment on the album that I can give.
Warpaint does not disappoint on their third album. Each one of their records has something original and powerful to offer, and Heads Up is no exception. It may need more than one listen to truly appreciate, but its energy and strength is there. Another win for Warpaint, and another win for music.
Favorite Tracks: Above Control, Today Dear, By Your Side
Least Favorite Track: Dre
Rating: 84 / 100