“I need a little room to sway.”
Exquisite Corpse is a tremendously beautiful piece of work. Be it the dreamy, lullaby tones of ‘Billie Holiday’, or perhaps the gorgeously absorbing layers of reverb drenching the guitar licks of ‘Krimson’, Exquisite Corpse stands tall as one of the most enchanting debut EPs of any band, painting a perfect and crystal-clear representation of exactly what Warpaint had to offer.
From then on, it was only going to grow further: the likes of The Fool’s ‘Set Your Arms Down’ or Warpaint’s ‘Keep It Healthy’ stand as two easy examples from two albums that were absolutely determined to mesmerize and delight, continuing the band’s ever-persistent maturity in exploring new territory and expanding beyond the initial psychedelic/art rock roots to broader horizons. This eventually culminated in the more radical shift in the band’s style with third album Heads Up, seeing the incorporation of a more up-tempo, pop orientated focus throughout much of the record and lead single ‘New Song’ being a far more synthesizer-laden affair compared to previous works. With this all in mind, it came as absolutely no surprise that vocalist/guitarist Theresa Wayman’s debut solo track ‘Love Leaks’ is as wonderfully eclectic as it is.
Brooding and soulful, Wayman’s first offering of solo project TT spends much of its time gently navigating the desperation of steadily losing something and realizing it may be too late: “I knew when love leaked out of the bottom of my cup.” As a reintroduction to Wayman’s identity as a musician, the hauntingly poignant admission of “I feel like we’re failing, I feel like I’m waiting on you” and mournful ending chorus line “I feel like we fucked up, I feel like we lost our love” allows a brutally personal side of Wayman’s song writing to shine through. And this is exactly the course that much of LoveLaws takes: it’s honest and personal and wonderfully so.
Take introductory track ‘Mykki’, for example: the album opens with pulsing, popping electronics that subtly grow throughout the track, while the chorus explodes in a longing outburst of “tell me you’re alive, make it feel right. You’ve got tonight, make it feel right.” With the track ending in softly delivered, reverb-laden guitar licks that pierce through the mix and contrast the introductory electronics, ‘Mykki’ establishes the album’s intended direction perfectly, and ‘I’ve Been Fine’s dissonant introductory guitar work continues this immediately. Utilizing subtle atmospherics and minimalistic instrumentation, ‘I’ve Been Fine’ sways back and forth quietly throughout much of its duration, until finally breaching the surface and plunging the track in gorgeously absorbing synthesizers and Wayman crooning a desperate mantra of “why can’t you be next to me? Why can’t you be next to me?”
Elsewhere, LoveLaws continues with ‘Tutorial’ with an entrancing mellow bassline and fragmented percussion, while Wayman drifts back and forth between confident observations of “I’m feeling you, what’s my body saying and hesitant vulnerability of “you’re only my love and it’s like you know my secrets. Know me in the dark.” Lyrically, this introspective and agonizingly personal delivery is entirely captivating, even on slightly more upbeat tracks such as ‘Safe’ and ‘Take One’. Introduced with the brilliantly raw ‘Sassafras Interlude’, ‘Take One’ continues the spirit of Ludivine Anneliz’s striking observation of “happiness is only found when you stop comparing yourself” with popping, snappy electronics, alongside hazy synthesizers and Wayman opening the track in a confident gasp of “and so I feel open, let’s go. I can be myself, I can be myself.” Again, ‘Take One’ displays a delightfully eclectic approach instrumentally, breaking away from the moody introductory electronics to embrace a direction far more akin to a jazz track; implementing a slick bassline and some of the rawest percussion seen on the album, the last third of ‘Take One’ sees Wayman at some of her most experimental and it’s so charmingly wonderful because of it.
An album born out of raw, blinding emotion with strikingly haunting lyrical content and exquisitely atmospheric instrumentals, LoveLaws couldn’t have been a more appropriate introduction for Theresa Wayman’s TT. From the elegantly sombre guitar work of ‘Dram’, to the soothing vocal layering of finale ‘Too Sweet’, this staggeringly memorable body of work grips the listener and takes hold instantly. Make no mistake, like Exquisite Corpse, as much as it may delight in gentle, dreamy soundscapes, LoveLaws deserves your utmost attention.