Not standing down
The Massachusetts-born band, Speedy Ortiz, began as a solo project of Sadie Dupuis in 2011 before expanding into a four-piece band later that same year. Twerp Verse is the group’s third full-length album and can be summed up by the lyric “I don’t want to be the sullen type / I don’t want my secret safe for life” in “Villain.” The band doesn’t plan on sulking or staying silent. Rather, they’re taking a bold and direct stance and stepping up to the plate in this album.
Speedy Ortiz doesn’t take their time to gingerly introduce their sound. The first track, “Buck Me Off,” packs a punch. Fast-paced electric guitar tears through the song as Dupuis confidently sings “I’m in league with the devil / You better buck me off / I compete with the devil / You better stop me / You better find a way to top me.” Her voice is sweet, but she skillfully tailors it to fit each track with the appropriate level and style of attitude.
“Villain” stands out with its intense lyrics paired with an overall somber, dark tune. The instrumentals are drenched in bass and sprinkled with distorted guitar, managing to sound both vengeful and sad at the same time. The lyrics serve as an ode to the current movement against sexual harassment. Depuis somberly muses “I wanna know if a no means alright / He looks past my answer / Did he earn the right? / No way.”
Some songs have a disconnected and distorted sound which may catch some off-guard at first, but this isn’t abnormal for Speedy Ortiz. In fact, it’s a testament to the band’s raw energy. Pockets of indie pop come through in tracks like “Lucky 88” and the quirky closer “You Hate The Title.” Others like “Lean In When I Suffer” and “Backslidin’” are dark and grungy. Despite this occasional outside genre-influence, this album could have benefited from some more variety. Some of the songs aren’t very differentiable and bleed together, like the end of “Blessed” and beginning of “Buck Me Off.” Tracks like “Sport Death” and “Alone With Girls,” while enjoyable, are not strong enough to stand out among the crowd. Although commendable that Speedy Ortiz knows and has perfected their sound throughout their career, the band could have benefited from branching out a little further.
In this album, Dupuis’ lyrical forcefulness matches the band’s momentous sound. Speedy Ortiz’s style may be an acquired taste, but fans of their previous works will definitely fall in love with the wit and boldness presented in Twerp Verse.