Album reviews: Warpaint, Mutual Benefit, The Gloaming, Mogwai

 

Warpaint "Warpaint" (Rough Trade)

North of three years is a long wait for a band to follow a fêted debut, but Warpaint don’t operate in haste. That slow-burn tendency pays off on Warpaint, where the four LA women unite with Depeche Mode/PJ Harvey producer Flood to expand on the harmonious insinuations, gothic reverberations and intuitive precision of 2010’s The Fool. Refusing to surrender its secrets instantly, it envelops like quicksand, pulling you in the more you wrestle with it.

The opening lyric on “Keep it Healthy” – “I could not believe what I was seeing” – is an invitation to look closer, to seek out shapes from vision’s-edge shadows. Both locked-down and loose, the combination of Emily Kokal’s dreamy vocals, Stella Mozgawa’s tense percussion, Jenny Lee Lindberg’s sinuous bass, Theresa Wayman’s spidery guitars and Flood-friendly spook-synths works hard to forge a rarefied air of haunted mystique. The Cocteau Twins-ish “Love is to Die” furnishes the album’s catchiest melody, but its unnerving images (“I got a knife to cut out the memories”), itchy rhythms, submerged vocals and exhalation of synths concoct something closer to an anxious sigh than a song.

Elsewhere, a tensile fluency ferries Warpaint from lush melancholy (“Teese”) to dub seductions (“Hi”) and Cat Power-goes-prog ballads (“Son”) with range and focus aligned. The album’s latter third drifts slightly, but the funk jolt of “Disco/Very” serves strident proof that Warpaint can do immediacy when required. Mostly, though, this lingered-over comeback offers sumptuous returns for those prepared to linger over it.

****

Kevin Harley

Mutual Benefit "Love’s Crushing Diamond" (Other Music)

Jordan Lee describes himself as “a professional amateur musician”. As such, he moves where the music takes him (Texas, Boston, Brooklyn) and plays in bands with friends and makes albums that previously have been released online-only under the name Mutual Benefit.

But then he recorded Love’s Crushing Diamond and, from an initial pressing of 250 vinyl copies, things started to pick up, with the likes of Pitchfork taking notice. Such is the way the music industry works now.

And, occasionally, it does work. Because, by word-of-mouth, blog and stream-and-share, people got to hear Lee’s string-laden pop songs. Maybe now he can sleep a little less on floors and spend more time making gorgeous albums like this. Please. 

****

Simmy Richman

The Gloaming "The Gloaming" (Real World)

The Gloaming are a five-piece ensemble eliding Irish folk music with the contemporary New York art-music scene. The upshot is a rather ECM-ish well of open space irrigated by a flow of motifs, textures, tempos and, more abstractly, romantic yearnings, as if an attempt were being made to elongate traditional form – the transatlantic folk impulse taken to unusual lengths (“Opening Set” lasts 16 minutes).

The group comprises fiddle (Martin Hayes), voice (Iarla O Lionaird), guitar (Dennis Cahill), Hardanger fiddle (Caoimhin O Raghallaigh) and piano (Thomas Bartlett, who also produces). They are awfully thoughtful, though the thoughtfulness does frequently give way – sometimes you feel with a sigh of relief – to the technical liberation of jig and reel. 

****

Nick Coleman

Mogwai "Rave Tapes" (Rock Action/Sub Pop)

The last time we heard from Mogwai was on the soundtrack to Channel 4’s spooky drama The Returned (or Les Revenants for those with an intermediate grasp of French) last year, and that same dreamlike quality has made its way on to much of Rave Tapes. So far, so Mogwai.

However, a few surprises have been chucked in, too: “Remurdered” is synth-heavy and krautrock-esque, full of momentum, with echoes of Errors – a band signed to the band’s own label, Rock Action. “Blues Hour” is more shoegaze, drifting slowly to and fro, but with that rarest of additions on a Mogwai tune: a vocal.

Elsewhere, one track can pass into the next almost unnoticed, which takes us, perhaps inevitably, back to soundtrack territory. 

***

Emma Finamore

Arts and Entertainment
Saw point: Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence in ‘Serena’
film
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift performs at the 2014 iHeart Radio Music Festival
musicReview: 1989's songs attempt to encapsulate dramatic emotional change in a few striking lines
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Anderson plays Arthur Shelby in Peaky Blinders series two
tvReview: Arthur Shelby Jr seems to be losing his mind as his younger brother lets him run riot in London
Arts and Entertainment
Miranda Hart has called time on her award-winning BBC sitcom, Miranda
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Boy George performing with Culture Club at Heaven

musicReview: Culture Club performs live for first time in 12 years

Arts and Entertainment
Laura Wood, winner of the Montegrappa Scholastic Prize for New Children’s Writing
books

Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulling the strings: Spira Mirabilis

music
Arts and Entertainment
Neville's Island at Duke of York's theatre
musicReview: The production has been cleverly cast with a quartet of comic performers best known for the work on television
Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol

art
Arts and Entertainment
Lynda Bellingham stars in her last Oxo advert with on-screen husband Michael Redfern

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman

film
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Minchin portrait
For a no-holds-barred performer who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, Tim Minchin is surprisingly gentle
Arts and Entertainment
Clara takes the lead in 'Flatline' while the Doctor remains in the Tardis
tvReview: The 'Impossible Girl' earns some companion stripes... but she’s still annoying in 'Dr Who, Flatline'
Arts and Entertainment
Joy Division photographed around Waterloo Road, Stockport, near Strawberry Studios. The band are Bernard Sumner (guitar and keyboards), Stephen Morris (drums and percussion), Ian Curtis (vocals and occasional guitar), Peter Hook (bass guitar and backing vocals).
books
Arts and Entertainment
Sean Harris in 'The Goob' film photocall, at the Venice International Film Festival 2014
filmThe Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Streisand is his true inspiration
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor contestant Fleur East
tvReview: Some lacklustre performances - but the usual frontrunners continue to excel
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Tuttle's installation in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern
artAs two major London galleries put textiles in the spotlight, the poor relation of the creative world is getting recognition it deserves
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman
film
Arts and Entertainment
On top of the world: Actress Cate Blanchett and author Richard Flanagan
artsRichard Flanagan's Man Booker win has put paid to the myth that antipodean artists lack culture
Arts and Entertainment
The Everyman, revamped by Haworth Tompkins
architectureIt beats strong shortlist that included the Shard, the Library of Birmingham, and the London Aquatics Centre
Arts and Entertainment
Justice is served: Robert Downey Jr, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong and Robert Duvall in ‘The Judge’

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Clive Owen (centre) in 'The Knick'

TV

Arts and Entertainment
J.K. Simmons , left, and Miles Teller in a scene from

Film

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

    Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

    The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
    Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

    Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

    The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
    DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

    Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

    Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
    The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

    Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

    The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

    The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
    Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

    Paul Scholes column

    I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
    Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

    Handy hacks that make life easier

    New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker