An album to dive into and luxuriate in, Warpaint fans should not miss this starter to the band’s next main course
This year is shaping up to be an exciting one for Warpaint fans. Not only will May see the release of the band’s first album for six years, Radiate Like This, but there’s also the small matter of bassist Jenny Lee Lindberg’s second solo album.
Recorded, like her debut Right On, with Warpaint drummer Stella Mozgawa, Heart Tax presents a much more rounded sound than its predecessor. While much of Right On was quite minimal, with songs based around Lindberg’s bass guitar, there’s a much fuller band sound on display on Heart Tax.
Inevitably, comparisons to Lindberg’s day job will be rife. And it’s unarguable that much of Heart Tax does sound very similar to Warpaint – the same floaty rhythms, the same hazy, dreamy atmospherics, but the songs are more focussed. In fact, much of the album feels more poppy than anything Warpaint have done: the excellent opening track Stop Speaking (featuring Depeche Mode‘s Dave Gahan guesting on vocals) is gloriously catchy, while Lingberg’s elastic bass on Tickles gives the song an unstoppable momentum.
The title track delves deep into Cat Power territory – brooding and contemplative, but with a playful edge, with Danish DJ and producer Trentemøller adding an almost dubby feel to the song. In Awe Of is a gentle, swaying acoustic ballad while Love You brings a piano in the mix to great effect.
The best moments on Heart Tax are when Lindberg cuts loose: the relentless groove of Clinique (featuring all the other members of Warpaint) with Lindberg’s almost spoken word vocals becoming rapid-fire, or the loose relaxed jam of Hallows Eve both standing out as highlights. There’s even a reprise of Tickles (entitled, fittingly, Tickles II) which manages to surpass the original, while closing track I’m So Tired almost drips with ennui and sadness, bringing the record to a memorably dramatic close.
Recorded over a period of four years, with several tracks already released as a series of singles (with the results collected together for this album released on Record Store Day), there was always a risk that Heart Tax may feel a bit stitched together. Fortunately, the opposite is the case – this is an album to dive into and luxuriate in. The only possible danger is that it may well be overlooked by its close release to the Radiate Like This. If that is to be the case, Warpaint fans should not miss this starter to the main course set for release in May.