Warpaint

Heads Up

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

Thanks to the success of their self-titled second album, Warpaint spent almost a year and a half on the road -- a situation that could make any band's members sick of their songs, and perhaps each other. After finishing their tour, the women of Warpaint took some time to pursue different projects: Jenny Lee Lindberg issued her solo debut, Right On!; Theresa Wayman founded BOSS with Hot Chip's Sarah Jones and All We Are's Guro Gikling; Stella Mozgawa played with Kurt Vile on tour and in the studio; and Emily Kokal collaborated with Paul Bergmann. When it was time to reunite, the band had months to make an album instead of the years it took to record Warpaint. Heads Up proves that the quick turnaround suits them; instead of seeming rushed, the album feels spontaneous and fearless. As on Warpaint, the band strips away more atmosphere, but where it previously felt like they were refining their music, now it feels like they're redefining it. The muscles and bones of Heads Up's songs are more apparent than ever before, along with more intention and intensity. This newfound immediacy is most striking on "New Song," a celebration of new love that rivals Tegan and Sara when it comes to smart but undeniably danceable pop. Here and throughout the album, the band takes its hypnotic sensuality in different directions, whether it's the ebb and flow of the R&B-tinged "Dre" or the stark acoustic finale, "Today Dear." Though Heads Up sounds more recognizably Warpaint as it unfolds, its clarity is felt even in the most mantra-like songs. Mozgawa's drumming grounds caressing meditations like "White Out" and "The Stall," while the frankness of "So Good" and "Don't Let Go" brings their dreamy lust down to earth. It all comes together on the dazzling title track, where artful tension and release make it one of the band's most gorgeously restless songs yet. Though the fever-dream beauty of their previous album is missed sometimes, Warpaint sound so excited to be making music on Heads Up that the feeling can't help but be contagious.

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