Artist: Speedy Ortiz
Title: Real Hair EP
Record Label: Car Park Records
On the heels of their debut LP, Major Arcana, Speedy Ortiz have readied a collection of four tracks of dissonance that go by the collective name of Real Hair. Working as a bridging gap between their first offering’s discordance and the pop sensibility of the four piece’s earlier, Sports EP, Real Hair positions the outfit from Northampton, Massachusetts as a prolific bunch.
Kicking off with the charging, distilled malevolence of ‘American Horror’ the quartet channel their alt-rock wares through waves of down-turned riffs and scratchy maelstroms of noise. Sadie Dupuis’ lead vocal means there’s a contrast between the crushing weight of guitars and drums with a sugary voice that offsets the anger of Speedy Ortiz’ sonics. It’s an unrelenting ‘call-to-mosh’ distress flare from the four piece, one that will no doubt provoke carnage on their forthcoming UK tour with fellow noiseniks Joanna Gruesome.
Trailing ‘American Horror’, the remaining nuggets from Real Hair slide into a happy marriage between grinding noise and less upfront barrages of clatter. ‘Oxygal’ fidgets and twists with riffs that invoke iron girders being contorted under the strain of a building being torn down. Dupuis’ vocal also takes a slight change with a sultrier, considered delivery that suits the tracks claustrophobic whir. ‘Everything’s Bigger’ follows suit with a hazy swarm of angry insects taking the place of guitar lines illustrating that Speedy Ortiz can still provoke connotations towards a racket without having to fully stamp their foot down on the gas. “So you might escape back to a place where horrors fade away” Dupuis trills whilst the rest of her grungy troop belch out wave after wave of fuzzy turbulence, painting the picture of uneasy introspection and the need to retreat to a calmer state of mind. Real Hair is capped off by ‘Shine Theory’ which is a more tempered onslaught when compared to its peers. There are still hints towards inharmoniousness but this time Speedy Ortiz measure the delivery of scratchy riffs and tattered drums with injections of quieter moments that usurp louder occurrences.
Real Hair may not have the direct impact of Major Arcana but as a cheeky aperitif to the delicious main course, it’s definitely something to get your teeth into.
Words and Thoughts of Adam Williams