Through Warpaint, Theresa Wayman (or TT) has made some amazing music through the years, and her latest solo effort shows how she fits into it all. Mixing an unusual production style with largely hip-hop influenced beats, Wayman makes a record that’s outside of what you would expect. Though it will definitely prove a challenging listen at first, it is wildly ambitious and more intriguing the more you dig in.
The hazy rasps that float throughout “Mykki” make its digital hip hop feel all the more creepy as Wayman guides listeners from one end to another. As Wayman lets the groove emerge slowly with her harmonies, the song burns right out of a mood-piece into a heavy sonic assault. A simmering mix of guitars continue to expand the oddly cold energy of Wayman’s record, as she favours swinging hooks over a traditional writing. Though the track takes some time to get used to, the massive drop will have you addicted from your first listen.
Incredibly dense distorted notes wail out at as “Love Leaks” moves into a dark and vocal-driven crawl of a listen. This patient, slow-build of a track lets each section come in and build until Wayman is an unstoppable wall of energy. Hearing Wayman interpret some of these ideas across the track’s shifting grooves also make its extended run feel worthwhile. However there’s a wonderfully abrasive hip-hop kick as Wayman starts a mantra throughout “The Dream.” As she places her classic misty vocal delivery over this brash production, she creates something with a strong sense of tension and a serene beauty as well.
“Tutorial” takes a much more frightening approach as Wayman’s voice floats like a soul trapped in digital rubble. Though the song can be a little slow-paced at times, every moment that Wayman finally breaks through with drums and her guitar are more than worth the wait. The feedback roar of “Dram” finds the grooves shifting all around Waymen’s trippy sound beds and lets her vocals really dance more than any other track on the record. Even in its loose writing scheme, Wayman’s ability to dive straight into her production is a wondrous listen.
The experimentation hits a fun and exciting peak on “Safe” as weird vocal clips slowly evolve into exotic riffs and writing, with Wayman reaching out into her most passionate vocals. Hearing the riffs grow more and more primal as her lyrics do, this is a really intense track to hear from start to finish. “Sassafras Interlude” while intimate and close is just so sonically and even thematically different from the rest of the album that it can feel long even at a minute long.
Luckily “Take One” drives things right back into a demented descent into Wayman’s own mix of guitar and electronics. While it comes off as the closest to her work with Warpaint, it’s really intriguing to hear what Wayman’s specific part of the equation really is. As she takes things out on the guttural drums of “Too Sweet” Wayman taps into other themes from her Warpaint albums in a startling way as she appears to continue conversations from her previous work. Here however, the ghostly energy around the song gives a totally ethereal and haunting sound that ends the record on a note that will make you want to jump right back in.
Words by Owen Maxwell