When you hear the word “seedy”, you think discord and slight chaos, which is exactly what Heads Up captures in its playfully dark sound. There is a sense of kept madness to this album that makes listeners feels as if they have stepped into the mind of a person fraught with clashing dreams and insecurities. Track by track Heads Up feels like an opus to every high or low moment you have kept crawling through your thoughts.
We all have thoughts and memories that, for however old we get, cannot seem to leave us. Whether they are of funner times or a nagging, personal flaw that you hope no one will notice, there is always a thought that can make us crumble from either the self-love or self-hate it offers. Heads Up is the musical equivalent of a brain sparking with a rush of emotional images and sounds. Band members Emily Kokal, Theresa Wayman, Jenny Lee Lindberg, and Stella Mozgawa create symphonies through their harmonies. When they sing together is as if you are being hypnotized. Their voices blend in a way that takes you aback with its ease. How can four women, each with their own, distinct style, make a voice that is mutually layered and unified? Their melodies come off as if angels have decided to give you a message, and turn their words into your thoughts. A band should not have such power to enrapture, but Warpaint is so good, which is a title to one of my favorite tracks of the album. You will not mind their musical takeover of your being.
What I love most about this record is that their angelic vocals beautifully contrast the noir, machine-like beats of each song. Warpaint is a and that is hard to define in genre, in part, because they mechanized some many musical influences like, punk, rock, folk, and funk. Thus, Heads Up feels manufactured in the oddest, most gorgeous way. Manufactured and music may not seem like a compliment especially to those, like myself, that believe the best songs are made with soul. Yet, Heads Up might be the first album I have ever heard to capture perfectly how one’s mind works. This album does not aim for the heart or spirit of a human being. Instead, it repeats simple phrases like, “I’m not alone” in By Your Side or “You’re a new song” in New Song, to create the sentimental core of a person’s thoughts. When we feel something powerfully, we think it repetitively. Whether it be the playfulness of a new crush in New Song or the the struggle to decide whether you want your lover to let you go in “Don’t Let Go”, Heads Up is masterful in its ability to make you see every song as a thought you had, at least once, in your life.
I cannot reiterate my love for this album, and how I would personally vouch for it as one of the best of 2016. Sure, there are plenty of albums, I have yet to review. (I’m waiting Bruno Mars!) Yet, I cannot deny the specialness of this album. Unique can be one of the loosest and vast terms used to describe an artist or an album, but it truly captures Heads Up. If ever an album could enthrall listeners with its rendition of how a mind works, this is it. For More Information on Warpaint and To Buy Heads Up on September 23 Click Here.
P.S I know I usually end my review with my favorite tracks, but this album is a solid track by track hit. Each song fluidly enters the other to make each one feel needed by the listener.