When The Fool, Warpaint’s debut album, first arrived the press was not primarily focused on their music. Instead, the spotlight was directed on the fact that they were an all-girl band, shrouding their musical identity in convoluted Californian comparisons and trivial stories about celebrity boyfriends. Their newly-released second album is self-titled, which suggests the band have a newfound certainty and self-confidence in their sound; something that will rightfully propel the stories to concentrate on the music. Certainly for drummer Stella Mozgawa, the final addition to the band’s line-up, this second album was the first chance to work on songs from the ground up, and the title accordingly implies a sense of finality in their identity. All swirling, low-key, woozy guitars and airy yet sultry beats, Warpaint’s sophomore LP is ultimately a more refined, grown-up affair than their slightly less ambient debut. In addition to Mozgawa’s more assertive presence on this album, the development in their sound more generally is perhaps unsurprising given that the band have existed for ten years, with their first album coming out all the way back in 2010.
Speaking via a somewhat shaky phone line from her hotel room in New York, during a week of press before the band’s lengthy world tour, Mozgawa contemplated the notion of living up to the hype of their first album. “I think that we were lucky,” she starts, before pausing to consider, “If we were The Strokes or something it would be different. I can imagine the amount of pressure that would be put on a band like that because they had a very particular style and it was released at a very particular moment. In a way they had a kind of contextual importance whereas we had more freedom and less expectation.” With that said, it was after the release of The Fool, and the critical plaudits that came with it, that Warpaint were selected as part of the BBC Sound of 2011 long list — the same year as nominees including the likes of James Blake and The Vaccines — which might suggest that the drummer’s response is more than a little modest.