As far as I recall 2010 brought me quite a lot of ‘hipster approved’ music. And to be honest, bands such as Local Natives, Caribou, Balthazar, Sleigh Bells, Suuns and Warpaint showed a lot of promise back then. The press however was most jubilant about the all-female art-rock outfit, Warpaint, coming from Los Angeles. Surely the involvement of former Red Hot Chilli Peppers guitarist John Frusciante had something to do with that. Initially he successfully helped Theresa Wayman (vocals and guitar) et al to create a trendy, but also out of the box, post-punk sound. Warpaint’s first full length album, The Fool, was therefore deemed to become a self fulfilling prophecy of success. The Fool confirmed this status and stormed the 2010 indie charts and also received some favourable reviews for being swamped with moody chords and haunting vocals. However, where do we go from here? Extending a successful phase by simply releasing a new record isn’t an easy task. For their colleagues Sleigh Bells and Suuns the follow up proved to be a troublesome struggle. Indeed this doesn’t automatically mean another, more negative, self fulfilling prophecy for Warpaint is opening up. So lets give the eponymous second album a spin and hear if they’re able to enchant listeners once again.
Don’t judge a book by its cover. When adapting the proverb a bit can one say, don’t judge the music by its album artwork? Maybe no straightforward answer can be given to this thought. However, when I first gazed at the cover of The Broken Man by Matt Elliott I began to wonder about this. Only in the bright daylight you can barely make out three black skeletal figures against a dark brown background. My feeling was confirmed after hearing the first track ‘Oh how we fell’. Starting off with some extensive guitar play and the gloomy sounds of church bells that is followed by a soft and tormented voice. During the lengthy opening Matt Elliott immediately takes you the depths of dreariness. After this first and relatively short introduction I can already conclude that this album isn’t for the masses. Indeed, the connoisseurs among us will enjoy this latest release of Elliott. As for me, The Broken Man significantly influenced my musical year in a positive way and is arguably the best album I heard in the past few years. Continue reading