Sadie Dupuis sings sweetly on the new Speedy Ortiz album, "Major Arcana," her gentle, calm tone belying the tumult in her poetic lyrics and serving as a contrast to the band's serrated music.
Based in Northampton, Speedy Ortiz makes a brand of artful noise pop that caught on around Boston and sparked a single and EP last year. The 10-song "Major Arcana" lets the band roam even more, accentuating a lighter touch on "No Below" and full-blown chaos on "MKVI."
Typically, though, the songs are not just one thing. Instead, Speedy Ortiz_ rounded out by guitarist Matt Robidoux, bassist Darl Fern, and drummer Mike Falcone_ favors dynamic shifts and turns over smooth, straight-ahead deliveries. On "Tiger Tank," for instance, the music comes crashing in before receding into a hypnotic riff that slowly turns maniacal _appropriate accompaniment to Dupuis' dark lines ("I don't care if they take my legs; I've limped before, I can limp again").
"Cash Cab" is a hectic and knotty; "Plough" is slender and wobbly.
But all these different textures still rely on a decent devotion to squalling guitar rock of the sort Dinosaur Jr, Pavement, and Helium deployed in previous waves of indie rock. The burly and banged-up tone suits Dupuis' lyrics, which, while never direct narrative, are vivid and haunting.
It may take a few listens to catch all of the details she weaves into a song, but Dupuis does manage at least one neon line that you immediately notice in a song and becomes its hook. Maybe it's the deadpan delivery of "I've still got plasma coming through" or the steely "You picked a virgin over me," something will inevitably present itself as bait to go deeper into the intrigue Speedy Ortiz crafts across "Major Arcana."
The record is out July 9 on Carpark Records, and Speedy Ortiz is playing a release show Saturday, July 6, at Great Scott, 1222 Commonwealth Ave., Allston. The show is at 9 p.m. and also features Grass is Green, and the Vegans.
Here a couple of tracks off of "Major Arcana":
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