Speedy Ortiz is one of those bands that I can get obsessed over. I came across a review of their current release “Major Arcana,” and decided to give it a listen. Major arcana refers to the 22 card suit of trump cards within a Tarot Deck.
Sadie Dupuis is the lyricist, vocalist, and guitar player. I read that she was in pursuit of a masters degree in poetry. Mike falcone plays drums. Darl Ferm plays bass. Matt Robidoux plays guitar, and is classically trained. Their combined effort results in a masterpiece. They perfectly combine the nerdy appeal of Weezer, the heavy and soft essence of smashing pumpkins, with a touch of the Pixies.
Sadie’s lyrics are a joy to decipher. Exquisitely written and sung. This album bears repeated listenings. I recommend sitting with the provided lyric sheet and reading along as the music progresses. (This is my preferred way of listening to a new album.)
My thoughts on a few of the tracks:
Pioneer Spine – A strong opener. Sadie mentions turning a key in the song. I wonder if this is a reference to the key she constantly wears around her neck.
Tiger Tank – This song thunders heavily, like classic thrash metal. It gives way to clean arpeggiated guitars. She laughs at “lump schmatics,” and mentions limping. There are more than a few references to leg problems and disease. Is this some sickness that Sadie has experienced?
Hitch – Vocal melodies are repeated through the guitar, this is one of Speedy’s very effective signature moves. This song mentions a horse that has bad legs, but works hard nonetheless.
No Below – This is my favorite song on the album. Another beautiful catchy melody can be found here. One of the most magical moments on this album, the melody is sung through the lyrics,” how I once said, I was better off just being dead.” Sadie mentions a broken knee.
Speedy Ortiz came to Austin on 8/2/13. Fans were given the chance to catch two amazing shows. They played at local record shop and treasure End of An Ear in the afternoon. Speedy gave such an amazing performance, so intimate, quiet and loud. They played a long set that included most of the album, truly magical. I was fortunate enough to chat with all the members of the band and they signed my lyric sheet with their names and a drawing (pictured above), thanks guys!
Later that night, Speedy Ortiz played the inside stage of Mohawk later. The performance was larger, noisier, and awesome.
What an amazing album, go out, by this album, enjoy it, and then catch a live show!
Album Rating 5/5