Wargirl certainly have lofty ambitions for their debut release. They aim to bring the sound of their home, Long Beach, to the record. This means they offer up an album bringing the influence of Santana’s early records, afrobeat recordings by Fela Kuti, the psychedelic masterpiece “Forever Changes” by Love and the 70s psych funk masters War (who happen to also be from Long Beach!).
It’s clear from the first track, “Poison”, that they have been successful in offering up something a bit different on this album. It has an almost eighties synth sound but with a kind of dance beat to it. Indeed, tracks like “Sass Girl” and “No Difference” add a far funkier sound when compared to most of the indie ‘landfill’ that is around at the moment. It makes for a far more interesting and diverse sound.
Importantly, the experimental elements of their sound aren’t at the expense of keeping them appealing and catchy, as demonstrated by “Mess Around” and “I Know I”. Indeed, you have to give them credit for actually making the sound of ‘bongo drums’ (or at least that’s what they sound like to us!) appealing on “Voice Of The Mountain”.
“Last Time” may veer a bit too much in to a world music style for our simplistic tastes. But, on the whole, they keep things diverse but engaging. The sparse but enchanting tracks like “Streets” and, in particular, “How You Feel” had us reminiscing about Shilpa Ray’s last album (which was one of our favourites of last year). Like her material, songs such as “Make Believe” are a bit off kilter, but still have an underlying ‘indie pop’ sensibility to them.
When we read the band’s bio, it said they had a sound which incorporates reggae, disco, garage rock and post-punk. We had out reservations over whether they could achieve that… but they definitely proved us wrong. It’s remarkably assured for a debut album and clearly shows a band who are comfortable to mix up their influences, but in a cohesive manner. If you’re bored with standard indie/alternative rock then this is one to check out.