REVIEW: Warpaint – Radiate Like This

The mistresses of melancholy melodies present us with their offering of Radiate Like This. Another great album by Warpaint.  

As an aside, I saw Warpaint at Latitude festival many years ago with a couple of friends. My five year old son at the time in a sleep deprived delirium, renamed one of those friends ‘Genre Bumface’. That friend now writes for Picky Bastards. I can’t help but see some tenuous links there?  Anyway, I won’t mention any names, I’m sure that’s Fran’d upon, and I don’t want to get Slate(r)d by the team. Oh yeah, Warpaint were good.  

Recently, I heard Warpaint on Radio 6 music (ALL HAIL the gods of music provision and promotion). They were talking about how much the pandemic and lockdowns influenced artists’ musical offerings, to include, a deeper sense of connection and unity. That is apparent in Radiate Like This. To hear and feel the veil of grief, boredom, frustration, acceptance and connection in Warpaint’s music is reassuring. You know it’s coming from their heart, not from a dude that writes songs about love for factory produce pop bands (no offence meant to behind the scenes song writers).  

With this album you will find catchy and unique tunes, even that cheeky little ode to new or perhaps casual relationships. ‘Send Nudes’ was enjoyable.  

The album isn’t just confident but soft harmonised vocals and soulful lyrics, it has plenty for you to uncover if you pay close attention. This includes some funky instruments and a wicked laugh that I hadn’t noticed until yesterday. I think the band would refer to it as ‘a little bit of freak’.  

But, if you prefer an uninvolved listen whilst working, cleaning or engaging in horizontal refreshment, it’s a super chilled album that won’t throw you off your stride.  

I’ll be honest, I thought ‘Champion’ was a bit dull at first, but after a shit day I came home, put the album on, cranked it up and *BAM*, hit the right emotional frequency to fully appreciate it. The sound, the words, all of it. I think it really engages about 2.30 mins, with a beautiful bit of guitar that knocks it up a level in awesomeness. Plus, this is where the influence of 2020 comes in, in my opinion.  

‘Hips’ has the aroma of Massive Attack Mezzanine to it but with some great vocal play, then you receive a Ryu style *HADOUKEN* to the heart as ‘Hard To Tell You’ comes on. It makes me think of relationship regrets, the journey into maturity, forgiveness and self-reconciliation. Very powerful and also pretty sweet sounding. The vocals in this song are so smooth and airy, it’s just glorious.  

‘Stevie’ is a very pleasant and gentle melody with soft breezy harmonised vocals. It has a nostalgic love-songs-of-the-past feel to it and brings to mind The Carpenters, Feetwood Mac etc. but like, a bit freakier? I wasn’t sure if this was a Stevie Nicks inspired song or a love song for a dude named Stevie.  

‘Like Sweetness’ and ‘Trouble’ are two uniquely enjoyable melancholy songs that are followed by ‘Proof’ a song that builds up after the first 50 seconds to some Cure like guitar work with again, more harmonious vocals and a pretty decent instrumental near the end. Plus the chorus is catchy AF. Can’t help admire turning a dull 14th century phrase into a cool song.  

‘Alter’ doesn’t stand out compared with other tracks, but I like the Lana Del Rey pouty style vocals, and there’s a nice drum and base vibe.  

‘Melting’, the second to last track is also the track from which the album is titled. It develops into a beautiful melody with some great sounds including what sounds like steel drums and the reliable deliciousness of a wood block(?) boldly heard throughout.  

I have found that listening to the album, most of the songs get even richer as they play out. If you are a judge-a-song-by-its-first-20-seconds kinda person then you may miss out.  

The album at various points has a Sundays feel to it which lets that nostalgic feeling creep in whilst enjoying some new sounds. 

Finally, I want to acknowledge the fantastic percussion which could be overshadowed by the mad vocal skills the band has. Mozgawa is a constant throughout the album and when you tilt your head, lean in, listen carefully and pick out her sounds from the rest, she’s just pretty fucking awesome.  

Words by Tamara Greaves

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