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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Speedy Ortiz - Fun and Menace, 10 Aug 2013
Red on Black - See all my reviews
This review is from: Major Arcana (Audio CD)
Do you ever get attracted to bands solely on the basis of their name? Speedy Ortiz was just to good to miss and in doing it has revealed a excellent debut album where the ghosts of Stephen Malkmus, Elliot Smith and Liz Phair abound. The bands blurb is that they were founded by "guitarist and songwriter Sadie Dupuis who left New York City for the wilds of Northampton, MA in order to develop "her third grade poetry". In doing so, she began Speedy Ortiz, a self-recorded lo-fi project named after a minor character from the Love and Rockets comic series. Speedy Ortiz soon became something else entirely as bassist Darl Ferm, guitarist Matt Robidoux, and drummer Mike Falcone teamed up to form a full band, balancing abrasive noise with infectious earworms." Well done to whoever composed these lines for there combination of self deprecation and pinpoint accuracy.

On "Major Arcana" the initial impression left by the band is a somewhat glum exterior, yet slowly lyrics appear which are well constructed and often humorous with dangerous hints of melody. Check out the lovely "No below" easily the most accessible song on the album where Dupuis charts an accident leading to a broken knee and a a consequent friendship that leads her to reflect that " I didn't know you when you were a kid/But swimming with you, it sure feels like I did". There are some beguiling songs contained on this debut. Opener "Pioneer Spine" has that sort of quirky and angular backdrop that Pavement made their own special trademark, it combines both fun and menace and is a great start. Some will say that the dark hues of the jagged power chords on "Tiger Tank' are a throwback to 90s underground music, but Dupuis voice infects it all with a sweetness that stops any descent into miserabalism. Other tracks which catch the ear include "Hitch" which displays a sneaky pop sensibility and the feedback laden closer "Cash club" which is punchy and packed with crunchy riffs. Speedy Ortiz have been described as a "more playful Slint" and it is true that "Gary" does hark bark to a by gone age when "Spiderland" was glued to the turntables of all discerning American youth. Yet "Major Arcana" is one of the best debut albums of 2013 and has been lauded with such praise by the alternative music press in the US that it can barely stand the weight. This is good news since this band are real contenders and in Ms Dupuis they have a rock poet whose slow burning wisdom is packed with future potential.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Paranormal, 13 Mar 2014
Peter Hill ""yoghurtknitter"" (Waterville Ireland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Major Arcana (Audio CD)
An interesting American indie rock band who are an amalgam of The Faith Healers, Throwing Muses, Pavement and My Ruin i.e quiet/noisy, angular and guitar driven.
Sadie has a good albeit fragile/wavery voice, noticeably on the quieter tracks 'no below' & 'gary' (which i actually preferred), and it's often low in the mix and sometimes overshadowed by the intensity of the guitars but repeated plays do reveal a depth initially not heard.
The album opens well with the excellent 'pioneer spine' and another favourite 'cash cab' has some excellent fuzzy guitars and vocals but the album as a whole is let down by a few less strong songs e.g 'casper' & 'plough' but overall worth a listen especially if you're a fan of any of the above bands.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sadie & Co. have made an amazing statement here!, 27 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Major Arcana (Audio CD)
An amazing album. I'm a big fan of dry lyrics, especially when it's coincided with interesting guitar use. A very tight band that you have to listen to, really! For fans of pavement and pixies etc... Must listen!
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Major Arcana by Speedy Ortiz
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