ALBUM REVIEW: Warpaint – Warpaint (For Electric Banana)

warpaintAmong this growing trend of girl groups with acoustic guitars and braided hair, it’s quite a relief to have Warpaint rising in popularity. Although widely recognised under the ‘indie’ genre, to describe this band as yet another indie girl group would not do them one ounce of justice. The LA four piece kick-start 2014 with long awaited, self-titled album Warpaint, a flawless representation of their musical depth. This is an album that will you will not only hear, but feel too.

First track, ‘Intro’ kicks in with a raw instrumental effect that leaves you with the feeling of listening in on a rehearsal and highlights this band’s edge. ‘Keep It Healthy’ is the track that flows from ‘Intro’, a smooth transition into a song with the perfect balance of energy and soothing vocals. Following this is an anticipation inducing introduction to ‘Love Is To Die’, a track you’ll feel running through your veins.  Soft vocals loom over the droning guitar producing a somewhat eerie and sinister tone in relation to the track’s name.

Warpaint then throw a bit of variation into the mix with some hints of hip hop elements sneaking into ‘Hi’ and ‘Disco//Very’. These tracks show that rather than just simply trying out a bit of hip hop, the four piece are putting their own spin on it to create something unique, something more than just some ‘sick beats’.  ‘Go In’ then follows with a deep bass line and hazy tone, the perfect chill out song after the burst of sinister energy in ‘Disco//Very’.

Warpaint demonstrates a broad range of music skills and influences in a concise manner so as not to be throwing too much at the listener. The instruments and vocals work hand in hand to create such an intense sensation that it is hard to focus on one particular element as they all blend in to one. Across the album there is an overwhelming range of vocal points, from the deep, sinister tones of ‘Disco//Very’ to the light and airy vocals of ‘Biggy’ that barely touch the surface. The distinction of such vocals make for an ideally balanced album consisting of diverse yet relatable songs that send shivers down your spine.

ALBUM REVIEW: ROAM – Head Down (For Electric Banana)

With new EP Head Down, Eastbourne-based five-piece ROAM have nailed the old school kind of pop-punk, perhaps five years too late for it to really stand out. The collection of five upbeat songs fit the pop-punk stereotype almost too perfectly without really making any individual stamp on the genre. Originality aside, the guys in ROAM have a lot of talent and enthusiasm and Head Down is a clear representation of this.

First song featured on the EP is ‘You Never Said’, which sneaks a glimpse into the humour of the band, starting with a sound byte of viral video ‘Just waiting for a mate’ before kicking into an all too familiar pop-punk riff and gravelly vocals rounded off with melodic hooks. Increasing the tempo is ‘Sticker Slap’ which in its not-so-lengthy play time sounds like it has been cut short, coming to an abrupt end just after one minute. A theme that comes across most frequently is the idea of young adults being behind everyone else in their lives and the idea of the misunderstood individual – nothing out of the ordinary there.
While Head Down works well as a package, the songs come across almost too similar, proving difficult to differentiate between tracks. A little more variation would have given the EP that zest it so requires. However, debut single ‘Headrush’ stands out at the very least with the slow middle eight, in which you can almost envisage a crowd of fans singing along. The structure of this track makes it the strongest of the five and as the final track it works well in rounding off the EP.

Musically, ROAM are there, however they still need a bit of variation and a pinch of originality to stand out amongst the crowd. Albeit an overly generically pop-punk selection of songs, Head Down is a well executed effort. With some fresh ideas and straying from the norms, the five-piece might be able to produce some music that doesn’t sound like something we’ve all heard before.