Speedy Ortiz

Twerp Verse

Carpark

Apr 24, 2018 Issue #63 - Courtney Barnett Bookmark and Share


Find It At: AMAZON

With the success of their previous album Foil Deer, Speedy Ortiz seemed to conclusively cross over from having been a band beloved by a discerning but rabid relatively few into being a big deal. Whereas Major Arcana, the first record most people heard from them fizzed with a taut intensity, there was something more ambitious, more cinematic in scope, on Foil Deer which widened the arc of its popularity but meant that, for some listeners at least, something of what had made the band, fronted by Sadie Dupuis, so special in the first place was lost.

So, the release of Twerp Verse finds the quartet, rounded out by Darl Ferm, Andy Molholt, and Mike Falcone, at something of a crossroads: which way to turn? Towards immediacy and further popularity or to return to their primary modus operandi of chordal, melodic, and harmonic intricacy all smothered in glorious layers of fuzz.

It's clear right from the start that good choices have been made. Every track here packs a punch, from the moment the enigmatic chorus of opener "Buck Me Off" roars in to view with its refrain "I'm in league with the devil/you'd better buck me off/you'd better stop me/better find a way to top me" it feels important that the listener stops doing whatever they were previously doing and air-drums approvingly (a challenge on Speedy Ortiz songs). On "Lucky 88," synth lead lines add real potency to Dupuis' repeated assertion: "I don't care anymore." Elsewhere, "Alone with Girls" is a gloriously driving track suffused with layers. It's only really on the (even) more experimental "I'm Blessed" and "Moving In" that things don't really work. Both are dizzyingly complex and it feels as if the experimentation is an unfortunate touch over-done. Doubtless for other fans, these songs will emerge as instant favourites. (www.speedyortiz.com)

Author rating: 7/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10



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