27.6.11

Warpaint: Harnessing a Mood

     One day last week I went to see one of my current faves, Warpaint, play, and they were delish. DELISH. Wonderful. Sexy, heady, lo-fi joy. The whole set was an unrelentingly hypnotic and cohesive wonder (as is the album). How/why, I hear you ask? Well, my friends, it is because they have harnessed a mood. That’s how/why.


     Capturing a mood, like building an atmosphere, is a tricky thing, because you cannot inform the reader/listener what you want them to feel with words or music or tricks. Mood and atmosphere are what happen around the mechanics and the plotline, rising like steam off the grinding clogs and turning wheels. They are the result of the work put in to find the right words, the right pace and tone. The mood is the colour you see when you think of it after, or the taste you get in your mouth.

     For me, Warpaint is blue and a kind of hazy purple bruise. To sum it up, I’d call their mood woozy, post-coital, dream-like blue. It drifts and it dips and wanders into psychedelica and the subconscious like a late-night boozy or hung-over dream. The kind of dream, in fact, I used to get when I slept next to flowering lilies (gifted flowers, small room). And although each song is unique and different, the mood pervades.

     Another band that manage to do this is the Howling Bells, whose first album I loved and whose drummer once gave me his number (whoop). They have many of the same qualities, except their music is more remote, outdoorsy Americana with a touch more pop. I miss them actually; hopefully their third album will be as good as their first. We’ll see.

     By the by, if you think Warpaint’s bassist looks a bit like Shannyn Sossamon, you’d be right. She’s her sister (I just found that out a moment ago).

     So, if you want a piece of work or a collection to be cohesive, harness a mood and explore its facets. Do it as well as Warpaint does and you'll be well on your way, I think.




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