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Speedy Ortiz - Twerp Verse (Album Review)

Thursday, 03 May 2018 Written by Laura Johnson

Photo: Shervin Lainez

‘Foil Deer’, Speedy Ortiz’s 2015 album, cemented their place as a band who are always worth listening to. Sadie Dupuis constantly has her head on swivel, picking anecdotes that on closer inspection veer away from the autobiographical and into the universal.

The band have also become known for their pop-influenced, off-kilter melodies, which can u-turn several times throughout a single track, and their music is chiefly interesting due to its unpredictability.

‘Twerp Verse’, though, sees the band stray into the musical territory that Dupuis explored on her debut solo LP, ‘Slugger’, rather than follow in the footsteps of its predecessor.

There is far greater reliance on effects, keys and synths, and their recent shows have even included a saxophonist. As a result the sound throughout is busier and, combined with their typically intricate guitar lines, the songs are not always the better for it.

The bass-led Buck Me Off, despite its distinctive chorus, has so much going on that you could mistake it for two tracks playing concurrently. There are moments when these songs, as skillfully constructed as they are, feel more like collages, with sounds piled on top of and at odds with each other.

Lean In When I Suffer, on which Dupuis takes aim at toxic friendships, is one of the main offenders and shoehorns shifting tempos and several riffs into the mix. By way of contrast, Can I Kiss You? strips things back and is the better for it. Villain, which shifts to a more sinister key, is also a welcome anomaly, but that may be due to the fact Dupuis originally wrote it in 2014.

Her lyrics, though, continue explore difficult topics with healthy candour. Every word is intentional, witty wordplay included. “I once was lost, but now I’m floundered,” she sings on Lucky 88. But that pun is followed by a sharp truth: “Try and work in this town without a silver spoon and foot in your mouth.” Villain details an uncomfortable encounter with a man on a bus and uses it to spotlight a message relating to sexual harassment and consent: “He looks past my answer, did he earn the right? No way!”

‘Twerp Verse’ is the band’s second attempt at following up ‘Foil Deer’ after scrapping a collection of love songs written hot on the heels of the last LP.  Dupuis couldn’t in good conscience release such an insular record and fail to acknowledge the current social climate, but the result is an album that takes aim at clear targets lyrically while meandering musically. That is all the more disappointing as Speedy Ortiz have the skillset necessary to blend their pop influences and scuzzy guitar melodies without striking a jarring note.

Speedy Ortiz Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Thu May 03 2018 - HAMDEN Connecticut - Space Ballroom. (USA)
Sat May 05 2018 - WASHINGTON District Of Columbia - Black Cat (USA)
Mon May 07 2018 - NORFOLK Virginia - Charlies American Cafe (USA)
Tue May 08 2018 - DURHAM North Carolina - Pinhook (USA)
Wed May 09 2018 - ATLANTA Georgia - Purgatory Stage at Masquerade - GA (USA)
Thu May 10 2018 - NASHVILLE Tennessee - High Watt (USA)
Sat May 12 2018 - CHICAGO Illinois - Subterranean (USA)
Sun May 13 2018 - DETROIT Michigan - El Club (USA)
Mon May 14 2018 - TORONTO Ontario - Horseshoe Tavern (Canada)
Tue May 15 2018 - MONTREAL QC - La Vitrola (Canada)
Thu May 17 2018 - BROOKLYN New York - Music Hall Of Williamsburg (USA)
Tue May 29 2018 - LAKEWOOD Ohio - Mahall's (USA)
Wed May 30 2018 - LOUISVILLE Kentucky - Zanzabar (USA)
Fri June 01 2018 - LITTLE ROCK Arkansas - Stickyz Rock n Roll Chicken Shack (USA)
Sat June 02 2018 - AUSTIN Texas - Barracuda (USA)
Sun June 03 2018 - DALLAS Texas - Club Dada (USA)
Tue June 05 2018 - PHOENIX Arizona - Rebel Lounge (USA)
Wed June 06 2018 - SAN DIEGO California - Soda Bar (USA)
Thu June 07 2018 - LOS ANGELES California - Echo (USA)
Sat June 09 2018 - OAKLAND California - Starline Social Club (USA)
Sun June 10 2018 - SAN FRANCISCO California - Cafe du Nord (USA)
Tue June 12 2018 - PORTLAND Oregon - Doug Fir Lounge (USA)
Wed June 13 2018 - SEATTLE Washington - Vera Project (USA)
Thu June 14 2018 - BOISE Idaho - Neurolux Lounge (USA)
Sat June 16 2018 - DENVER Colorado - Larimer Lounge (USA)
Sun June 17 2018 - OMAHA Nebraska - Reverb Lounge (USA)
Tue June 19 2018 - ST LOUIS Missouri - Blueberry Hill Duck Room (USA)
Wed June 20 2018 - INDIANAPOLIS Indiana - Hi-Fi (USA)

Click here to compare & buy Speedy Ortiz Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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