The lead single ‘New Song’ was perhaps the most divisive track they’ve released thus far, but that’s exactly what artistic growth is about – when they were fairly ~underground~, they appeased their small fanbase with a very niche and distinct style, but as they progress and attract a larger crowd, naturally they’re gonna alienate the more uptight and rigid listeners. I, as a long-term Warpaint fan as well as a fan of pop music in general, happen to adore this radio-friendly sound they’re toying with. The repetitiveness of the hook creates a hypnotic effect, which along with the light and breezy production makes it their catchiest song to date.
The staggering thing to me about Heads Up is the number of tracks that strike me as ‘instant classics’ at first listen, which three albums in is highly exciting. Maintaining their track record for strong opening tracks, ‘By Your Side’ is Warpaint at their most menacing and for that I adore it, they’re experimenting with tension like never before. The line ‘but I won’t give up on you’ from ‘The Stall’ is a refrain that sticks with me for hours after; with the earworm of a chorus this is an instant favourite from their discography. I predict that this will be a highlight of their live shows in the future. On ‘Don’t Let Go’ the haunting, jagged and skeletal intro explodes into one of Stella’s best drum performances yet, giving the track an almost visceral quality. This, to me, is a beautiful tribute to their sound on The Fool and because of that it is an instant favourite. Another standout is the excellently-titled ‘Dre’, with production so ethereal that it’s almost other-worldly.
In brief, Warpaint keep getting better as they expand their sound whilst delving deeper into the palettes they’ve dabbled in before. Despite Jenny Lee’s recent solo venue and Theresa working on material of her own (to be released next year), Warpaint is still a cohesive unit of four of the most talented musicians around and seeing them continue to thrive and experiement is an absolute thrill for me to see. I cannot recommend this, and their discography as a whole, enough.