Rock foursome (Emily Kokal, Jenny Lee Lindberg, Theresa Wayman, and Stella Mozgawa) aka Warpaint delivered their fourth effort Radiate Like This on May 6th. Their psychedelic grooves fall flat on this album. There were times that this quartet wanted to go full grange on their music and in their career—meaning there were times their music wanted to dive into the mainstream atmosphere—but didn’t. (See “New Song”) Let’s face it, their fans would be enraged if that happened.
The band is the female answer to the Red Hot Chili Peppers maybe because they’re both California based? Maybe because of both of their psychedelic and sick grooves? Or maybe because two of the Peppers helped produce one of their albums? (Current guitarist John Frusciante and former RHCP guitarist Josh Klinghoffer lent a hand to the band’s debut EP Exquisite Corpse).
The band finds moments where they thrive on Radiate, including the lead single and anthem “Champion”. This song captures the spirit and essence of the band with a deep laid-back California vibe. “I’m an ocean/Breathe in and out/I’m a million years old/I’m a champion” in what feels like the whole band backs up the track in a soft whisper. This kicks the album off with what we are used to by this fierce foursome.
“Hips” continues the ball rolling with a mysterious groove. The soft vocals continue on this track with the soft cooing “Oh, oh-oh-oh” in the background. “Hips” is a look at a woman through a deceitful pair of eyes.
“Like Sweetness” and “Trouble” find the band in a rut though. Both songs are dark and not what we expect from the Western rock outfit. Where “Sweetness” relies on guitar and a light synthesizer, “Trouble” finds the song built mostly on piano and a twangy guitar. Which brings up the question, when did Warpaint go country?
The rest of the album is reminiscent of their earlier work, especially from The Fool era, but Radiate finds itself stuck in a reiteration of sorts and veers downhill quickly. When expecting a psychedelic lick of guitars, the band takes a left and provides a country or bad eighties vibe. The humorous tilted “Send Nudes” dabbles in a bland eighties groove against an acoustic guitar, which thankfully closes out the album. Radiate Like This wants to radiate like the first two tracks but falls short towards the end. Warpaint have more rock in them, maybe their next album will be better than This.