Speedy Ortiz Untangles Knots on ‘Real Hair’ EP

Speedy-Ortiz-300x193“Major Arcana,” last year’s first full-band LP from Northampton quartet Speedy Ortiz, tucked its melodies inside dense song arrangements on 10 tunes that drew on the influence of guitar-heavy’90s indie-rock.

The group untangles some of the knots on “Real Hair” (Carpark Records), a new four-song follow-up EP the band recorded with Paul Q. Kolderie, of Pixies and Uncle Tupelo renown.

Though the guitars are still plenty prominent, Speedy Ortiz more evenly balances them with singer Sadie Dupuis’ melodies, which she delivers in a clear, pretty voice that’s often at odds — and sometimes startlingly so —with the churning maelstrom surrounding her. Dupuis sounds calm and collected on opener “American Horror” as she winds her way smoothly through a thicket of turbulent guitars, and she sifts through emotions in a voice that matches up with a seesaw riff that pushes through a noisy backdrop on closer “Shine Theory.”

In between, there’s “Oxygal,” which skates through time signatures from sludgy to frenetic, and “Everything’s Bigger,” which piles up opaque lyrical references over squalls of epic guitar that recede as Dupuis sings the refrain and surge back on the verses.

With just four songs to go by, it’s unclear whether “Real Hair” represents a change in direction for Speedy Ortiz, or is just a clever diversion. Either way, the EP is a catchy, accessible introduction to a band that is very much on its way up.


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