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Exquisite Corpse




Rough Trade

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Warpaint is an LA-based, mostly female band who have crafted a delightful post-punk EP. Upon researching this release, i was surprised to see that it was produced by John Frusciante. The Exquisite Corpse EP does not bear the stink of Red Hot Chili Peppers white boy funk, so his influence was not immediately noticeable.

There are five songs on this debut EP. It starts with Stars, which sets the pace for the record: chugging deep bass, whining guitar drones, and echoed, sparse female vocals. The verses of this song remind me of Do the Robot, but on the chorus the drums kick in and the guitars get deeper and louder. At the end, a second female voice joins in harmonizing like Azure Ray channeling some old post-punk act.

Elephants starts very minimally, with a delicate voice and tinkling guitar arpeggios. But then a bass line comes in, thunking deeply in the background like early eNTERTAINME.nt or Magazine. When the drums kick in, the voice picks up, the singer really wailing away with a hint of Johnette Napolitano. There are some fascinating contrasts going on here.

Billie Holiday is a slightly mellower song from the band. The guitars are delicate, as the singer spells the title name slowly, liltingly, under a weight of echo, before adding the chorus from My Guy. There are also layers of strings, making this a strange, yet pleasant, miasma of a song. It ends with a looped bit that reminds me of fellow LA band Pocahaunted.

Beetles features, i think, a different singer. The voice here reminds me more of the first Coathangers LP than previous songs have. I am really not sure if this is a different girl, but whatever. Now, this is a seven minute song, and it goes through quite a bit of change. The first half is the same languid post-punk that the rest of the EP has featured, but towards the middle Warpaint slow everything down into a slow, psychedelic bridge with gobs of echo. Then in the last minute and a half or so we return to the first part, except the drumming is more martial as the singer speaks rapid-fire lyric while layers of backing voice chant "Oh my god I'm mad at it". Something here, the lead vocal delivery or perhaps the words themselves, bring to mind a half-remembered Sugarcubes moment. It is an oddly Bjork-like...

Finally, Burgundy wraps things up with some distorted, deep female voice, similar to Puro Instinct and/or Florence and the Machine. Again i am uncertain if this is a different vocalist, or if different effects have been applied to the voice to make it seem different. At any rate, the drums keep a light, martial beat while guitars chime in layers. It is vaguely psychedelic and rather lovely.

Overall, this is a fun EP. It is light, pop psychedelia of the type that seems to be coming from Los Angeles these days. There are many reference points, which tells me that this is not the most original release. Even so, it does what it does in a rather enjoyable fashion. Fans of female-vocaled post-punk will want to check this out. Supposedly Warpaint will have a debut full-length record out at the end of this year, and i am looking forward to it.

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