Major Arcana

Speedy Ortiz make indie rock Nineties-style: crooked guitars, witty lyrics and songs assertive enough to draw listeners in but mysterious enough to elude them at the same time. Their debut is all sharp left turns: Punky exuberance gives way to ballads, big choruses unravel into melodies that curl away like smoke. Sadie Dupuis sounds as deadpan when she's kidding as when confessing her pain, one minute mourning being dumped, the next delivering lines like "And I'm gettin' my dick sucked/On the regular." The band's dynamic stales over the course of an LP, but Speedy still manage a feat most peers in the recycling business don't: Make an old style a new concern.

From The Archives Issue 1190: August 29, 2013
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