It’s been one of those weeks where life completely takes over and you have no other option but to cow down to the masters of time and space, given you’re only set with a finite amount to work within. Across our great nation, so many things are constantly changing. People always say Kanye West is going crazy, teachers are striking out in Arizona & Colorado and trying to survive this insane educational system, technology is constantly evolving quicker than people can keep up with it, and music, well, I guess that always remains a constant. You take the bad w ith the good and you usually have more than the other. But let’s remain positive here, it is after all, Friday. I had originally planned on a featuring several releases today but opted instead on giving the singular review of only one artist.
The accolades always seem to be always direct themselves straight into sentences that align within the Speedy Ortiz universe. Seriously, is it necessary to place this band within an upper echelon of musicality that’s filled with so much worthy pop artistry? The answer to that question can be answered simply with a “fuck yes!” because Speedy Ortiz has proven its worth and how much better they are than the average band. Case in point, the group’s third album to round out the trifecta of full-length releases (if you don’t include the 2011 demoed The Death Of Speedy Ortiz.) It’s been three years since the group’s cleverly titled 2015 album Foil Deer and some wondered if the band would be able to follow-up with more of its chewy pop goodness. Sure, band leader went on to record a solo album of material as Sad13 but that ain’t the point here.
This new album, Twerp Verse, you get a clear idea on the group’s youthful influences, the systematic undercurrent that runs through its musical dichotomy. Simply put though, it’s perfectly pieced together here with a pastiche of vibrant sounds that obscures any imitation blowback, keeping the band sounding fresh and original. Some, like myself, may find it difficult to get past the opening “Buck Me Off,” with loads of melodies, dissonant guitars and gorgeous harmonies. With every subsequent listen you’ll find more cleverly placed guitars throughout it. Sadie Dupuis’ voice is utterly hypnotizing, used as another instrument, filling her clever wording around the bombastic popcast the band pieces together. From this point everything falls right into place, allowing listeners to follow along.
Mind you, that was just the first song. “Lean In When I Suffer” collects off-key notes, watery, distorted guitars, more sing-song harmonies, and bouncy rhythms on top of Dupuis’ sweet & lovable vocal delivery. “Lucky 88” begins to show what the band is capable of doing without a wall of sound drenching every crevice in a song. It begins with vocals over a few notes of a bassline soon augmented by percussion and lingering keyboards before the band picks up the pace to crescendo around Dupuis’ words. It shows the band’s ability to work with dynamic changes, as does “Can I Kiss You,” which may include more dissonant guitars but doesn’t relinquish the sugary melody held within the vocals. There are moments where the band stays way ahead of the curve, avoiding staggering notions of what pop band should sound like. “Backslidin’” is an example as guitars seemingly fight against the rhythm but coalesces fine in the end.
Detractors are constantly looking to lambaste an artist but whatever they may be searching for, they’ll find none of it here. “Villain” has changing rhythms you’ll find challenging while “I’m Blessed” will throw listeners a monkey wrench in conventionality as it begins the song one way and turns it into a beast of a track. Playing the cookie cutter version of music we’ve all heard of before isn’t what Speedy Ortiz wants to give an unsuspecting world. Instead, they’re here to improve on what music enthusiasts have listened to. They’re expanding on it. Just listen to “Sport Death” where Sadie Dupuis’ quick-tongued delivery and the band’s explosive sound simply captivates while “Alone With Girls” slows down the tempo a bit but the band doesn’t relinquish its power throughout it. And with “Moving In,” while it fits into the grand scheme of the album, differs, as guitars sing along providing the harmony to vocals. It becomes difficult to say anything else that could be any more positive, except maybe… Sadie Dupuis herself is a clever songwriter and wordsmith. In a musical world overpopulated by men and boys, she’ll be leading the way now. Everyone needs to move out of the way because with Twerp Verse, yeah, the queen has arrived.
5/3/18 – Hamden, CT – Space Ballroom
5/5/18 – Washington, DC – Black Cat
5/7/18 – Norfolk, VA – Charlie’s American Cafe
5/8/18 – Durham, NC – The Pinhook
5/9/18 – Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade – Purgatory
5/10/18 – Nashville, TN – The High Watt
5/12/18 – Chicago, IL – Subterranean
5/13/18 – Detroit, MI – El Club
5/14/18 – Toronto, ON – The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern
5/15/18 – Montreal, QC -La Vitrola
5/17/18 – Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg
5/29/18 – Lakewood, OH – Mahall’s
5/30/18 – Louisville, KY – Zanzabar
6/1/18 – Little Rock, AR – Stickyz Rock’n’Roll Chicken Shack
6/2/18 – Austin, TX – Barracuda
6/3/18 – Dallas, TX – Club Dada
6/5/18 – Phoenix, AZ – Rebel Lounge
6/6/18 – San Diego, CA – Soda Bar
6/7/18 – Los Angeles, CA – The Echo
6/9/18 – Oakland, CA – Starline Social Club
6/10/18 – San Francisco, CA – Cafe Du Nord
6/12/18 – Portland, OR – Doug Fir Lounge
6/13/18 – Seattle, WA – The Vera Project
6/14/18 – Boise, ID – Neurolux
6/16/18 – Denver, CO – Larimer Lounge
6/17/18 – Omaha, NE – Reverb
6/19/18 – St. Louis, MO – Blueberry Hill’s Duck Room
6/20/18 – Indianapolis, IN – The Hi-Fi
6/26/18 – Boston, MA – Royale
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