Seeing Warpaint live at the Great Scott made such a lasting impression on me that I’ve been listening to their songs on a repeat mode ever since that night. The band, composed of four girls, has such a overpowering presence and massive sound that you can’t help but be impressed. Their overall sound is dark and even sinister yet balanced with beautiful dreamy vocals. Their distorted guitars sound like synthesizers and their hi-fi vocals with extreme delay create an ambiance of uncanny dreams. The girls go from low-almost whispered vocals to climaxes in which they scream their lungs out. The vocals are drenched in reverb and delay, which becomes a vital aspect to the surrealism of their songs. In “Stars”, Emily Kokal leads the vocals with a soft delay that fades out into the music, guitarist Theresa Wayman accompanies this with subtle background vocals that give a completely ominous sound to the song.
“Elephants” opens with an electrifying guitar strumming that gets integrated with the vocal chant: “I'll break your heart, to keep you far from where, all dangers start”. The song then gets much more intense as the drums come in and the guitars start jamming dissonant chords. Their climaxing instrumental jams reminded me of Radiohead’s explosions. Each song would initiate with a dissonant melody and then transition into crazy alternative riffs that would literally burst out out of nowhere.
The most expected song was “Beetles”, which was greeted with claps and cheering. In this song, Wayman sings a fast-paced harsh vocal introduction that make you want to dance and go crazy. This then transitions into a slow surreal vocal section with an ambient feel.
As they play, each member is in her own zone, with eyes shut and moving their body to the music. Bassist Jenny Lee Lindberg is literally in another world while she plays, rocking her body in a slow motion and shaking her head to the beat. The girls have such an amazing presence. It seems like they don’t even care how they look (even though they are insanely hot). With their baggy clothes, messy hair, and their bodies dancing all over the place, they just play and enjoy their music.