Warpaint - Heads Up (Sept. 23)
The L.A.-by-way-of-New-Zealand electro-pop quintet's last release was 2013's "In Rolling Waves." Their sophomore album broke from the synch-heavy formula of their 2010 breakthrough debut, "Passive Me, Aggressive You," building on their penchant for synth-infused pop nuggets with excursions into a more tempered pop sound.
For fans of the more immediate and direct approach that Thom Powers, Alisa Xayalith, Aaron Short, David Beadle and Jesse Wood originally aimed for, "Simple Forms" feels like a solid return. Recorded last fall in a downtown Los Angeles studio, the album was basically done in-house. Sombear (Brad Hale) helped produce two songs, Carlos de la Garza engineered the album and Ken Andrews (Paramore) mixed. Everything else came from the band.
Again, it's the potent and charismatic combination of Powers' solid songwriting and Xayalith's gorgeous voice that push "Simple Forms" forward.
It wouldn't be too far of a stretch to hear a band like Fall Out Boy playing a song like the deceptively rollicking "Backslide," and the way they expertly synthesize all of their best inclinations on stunning album closer "Rotten" makes it one of the best songs the band has ever written.
TNAF hasn't yet made its best record, but "Simple Forms" will make fans want them to keep trying.
Scott McDonald is a writer, on-air personality and consultant with 15 years of experience in the San Diego music scene. He has interviewed hundreds of artists, from the legendary to the underground, for print and television. Follow McDonald and his melodic musings on Twitter @eight24_ or Instagram @scotteight24. Send your music musts to email@example.com.