Speedy Ortiz delivers sophomore effort, “Foil Deer”
By Nic Sanderson
On their second record, “Foil Deer”, Massachusetts-based indie band Speedy Ortiz demonstrate and employ an ever-expanding palette of songwriting abilities, with an even stronger and more focused work ethic than their widely and deservedly acclaimed 2013 LP, “Major Arcana”. Singer/guitarist Sadie Dupuis crafts shells of chord progressions outlined by spidery, arpeggiated guitar lines sometimes reminiscent more of Slint, and sometimes reminiscent more of Pavement. The complexly arranged verses keep you actively thinking with their abrupt twists and turns, while the choruses reward you with hooks that standout enough to be taken home and carried around in your head. In “Ginger”, dissonant chords jolt and snarl their way along with lines like, “I just pick my teeth lurking in the shadows of the party lights” to a silky smooth, breezy climax.
By far the most consistent comments I’ve heard in discussions of Speedy Ortiz are related to the vibrant wit of Dupuis’ lyrics. The entirety of “Foil Deer” is teeming with thematic references to self-assurance, childhood, and relieving oneself of toxic relationships, all illustrated through down-to-earth imagery and allusions, and all of which are present in lead-single “Raising the Skate”. With a title referencing the adjusting of skate-height to rise above and escape a negative situation, and a chorus that opens with the line, “I’m not bossy, I’m the boss,” Dupuis manages to turn conventions on their heads to create a sense of elevation and empowerment on her own terms. “Foil Deer”, released on April 21, compiles accounts of emotional growth through intricate melodic and rhythmic arrangements that simultaneously indicate artistic growth.