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
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
TV
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams plays 'bad ass' Arya Stark in Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne modelling

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape

Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'

music
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

film
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars with Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders II

TV
Arts and Entertainment

art
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

film
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West is on his 'Yeezus' tour at the moment

Music
Arts and Entertainment
Rob James-Collier, who plays under-butler Thomas Barrow, admitted to suffering sleepless nights over the Series 5 script

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence star in new film 'Serena'

film
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.

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week