Published Apr 21, 2015Critics like to peg Speedy Ortiz as heirs to the Pavement throne. But while there is a fair bit of slack in the band's playing that, in the past, was in constant competition with singer Sadie Dupuis' melodies for the spotlight, and lines like "I was the best at being second place, but now I'm just the runner-up" make a case for "The Graduates" as loser anthem of the year, the comparison obscures singer Sadie Dupuis's musical M.O.
Far from Malkmus' obtuse and at times nonsensical lyricism, Dupuis' words are rooted firmly in Guyville. The spectre of early Liz Phair is all over Foil Deer, which puts Dupuis's voice up front for the first time. It also marks the band's most musically adventurous collection to date. From the vocal production tricks of "Raising the Skate" to the creeping bass of "Puffer," Foil Deer shows that Speedy Ortiz can be far more musically difficult to pin down when they want to be. Frankly they're all the better for it. More straightforward, run-of-the-mill tracks, sonically speaking, like "Dot X," suffer in comparison.
There was a sense that this record would be Speedy Ortiz's great leap forward. Instead, we get some tentative baby steps in the right direction, as the band settle for just really good instead of truly great. (Carpark)