Fresh Stream



Northampton’s SPEEDY ORTIZ‘s new album Major Arcana is not a straightforward album of immediately catchy hits. With frequent tempo changes and opaquely poetic lyrics, these songs do not immediately lend themselves to heavy head-bopping. Repeated listenings however, reveal a treasure trove of indelible melodies that rip into the heart with an endearing, supercharged spirit. This rocking 4-piece, led by singer Sadie Dupuis, channel the angsty urgency and guttural grunge grooves characteristic of mid 90’s ‘college rock’ (the album is produced by Justin Pizzoferrato, who worked with Dinosaur Jr. and Chelsea Light Moving), but jarring, angular sound, complex compositions and Dupuis’ charming, gravely voice clearly distinguish them from their alt-rock forefathers. Jagged, angular guitar riffs snarl and bite with a muted viciousness that is only occasionally let off its leash, while as a burly yet sullen bass thumps along to steady, forceful drums. Yet Dupuis’ singing stands out as the star of the record. Cuttingly insightful lyrics about personal isolation, disappointment and disturbing specters carry a sombre, melancholic tone throughout the album. The songs often oscillate between icy cool and a restrained, hesitant exuberance punctuated by noisy breakdowns and soaring solos that never stray too far. But this is no downer album – the songs jump forth with a hard hitting, vigorous energy, and Dupuis’ robust, varied delivery adds a searing emotional depth that can’t be shrugged off. Although this record may initially seem a bit off-putting, the intriguing off kilter melodies and elaborate lyrics will slowly seep into your unconscious, disturbing your thoughts, demanding to be explored but never fully unravelled – like a sphinxian riddle or a dark haired beauty with a perplexing glimmer in their cloudy eye. Listen to a few tracks below, then go get the record from Carpark Records or your lovely local record store.

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