Warpaint have taken care over their long-awaited second album and it shows.
The LA all-girl fourpiece made an almighty splash with their debut The Fool in 2010, becoming a name to drop if not a chartbuster. Their semi-gothic spidery rock was serious without being heavy, and it oozed cool.
They've lost none of that cool. This second set – with diverting names in the production credits, from stalwart U2 engineer Flood to Radiohead's man-behind-the-controls Nigel Godrich – has a similar poise and a sense that fleshing out the sound too much is for squares.
It begins with a false start on Intro, but that's the last time the mask slips. The rest is an accomplished mix of sparse, intriguing arrangements that pull influences from trip hop – the low bass and muffled skank of Hi – and punk-funk – Disco//Very's four-to-the-floor pace and chanting vocals are very ESG – without sacrificing consistency and flow.
There's a touch of Bjork too in the wailing voices and padded beats of Drive and near-sexy folk of Teese, and throughout there's a matching sense of sonic adventure, tracks moving slowly through gears that encompass rock, dance and a flavour of the avant-garde. It reveals its qualities gradually. That's just what they do.