NY Times backing recent Clem call (for whatever that’s worth)

FROM NY TIMES…

It’s easy to be a great drummer by being loud, but Stella Mozgawa finds all the other ways. She’s dense, leaving little air in her patterns. She’s not overly forceful, sometimes sounding as if she were nudging the rhythm out. And she’s reliably in the pocket, the steady force that sets the mood and pace for the rest of the band.

Thursday night at the Music Hall of Williamsburg that band, Warpaint, followed Ms. Mozgawa wherever she took it, its narcotizing hum swept along by a rollicking thunderstorm.

Warpaint, from Los Angeles, released its sometimes exquisite debut album, “The Fool” (Rough Trade), last month, and its most dangerous weapon is fullness. Ms. Mozgawa is complemented by Jenny Lee Lindberg, a gentle counterweight on bass. Atop this rhythm Emily Kokal and Theresa Wayman generally split the vocals, both with a round, wide-eyed tone. They both play guitar, too; most of the time Ms. Wayman plays high and tight melodic interjections and Ms. Kokal the dry, plangent long tones.

Altogether it makes for ethereal, shoegaze-y postpunk, an amalgam of naïve beauty and knowing pomp. Onstage it can be a touch cold but still hypnotic. “Stars” shone with bright, unambiguous harmonies, and songs like “Majesty” and “Composure” resolved the tension between the low thrum of Ms. Mozgawa and Ms. Lindberg and the threat of imminent flotation in the voices of Ms. Kokal and Ms. Wayman.

Apart from Ms. Mozgawa’s arms, there wasn’t much movement onstage, save for Ms. Lindberg’s hair, which was cut extra long in the front, making it easy to whip back and forth.

As a whole “The Fool” is less stark, more amniotic than the “Exquisite Corpse” EP (Manimal Vinyl) that the group released last year. That release featured “Billie Holiday,” a haunting slice of rural melancholia, full of devastating, sad harmonies and still one of this group’s standout songs. But Warpaint skipped it during this show, maybe because it’s not a showcase for Ms. Mozgawa, who would probably have ripped it from its posts.

An early incarnation of Warpaint featured the actress Shannyn Sossamon, who is Ms. Lindberg’s sister. Ms. Sossamon also directed the video for the band’s song “Undertow,” all soft, flooded light and desiccated patrician living.

“Undertow” is the most archetypal Warpaint song in that its lyrics, sung in tandem by Ms. Kokal and Ms. Wayman, are perfectly paired to its tone, both aquatic:

Your brown eyes are my blue skies.

They light up the rivers that the birds fly over.

Better not to quench your thirst.

Better not to be the first one diving in.

Here Ms. Kokal sang louder, while Ms. Wayman played brief, curious melodies. But about three minutes in, Ms. Mozgawa took over, a Sherman tank gently making its presence known in a flower bed. As she pounded away, Ms. Wayman and Ms. Kokal stepped off to their respective sides of the stage and took long sips of their beverages. Ms. Lindberg wasn’t really playing much either, just dancing along.

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