8.4 Best new music – Pitchfork
8/10 – Drowned In Sound
Radar band of the week – NME
Western Massachusetts’ Speedy Ortiz manages a bit of magic by conjuring the spirits of classic American indie rock, while twisting those ghosts into new shapes on their debut album ‘Major Arcana’. It’s easy to hear the influences of Helium, Jawbox, and Chavez on this album, as well as nods to their contemporaries including Grass is Green, Pile, and Roomrunner. Sweet vocal harmonies run up against gnarly distortion, aided by basic, chunky bass parts and heavy, fill-laden drums.
Recorded in a few days in November 2012 at Justin Pizzoferrato’s (Dinosaur Jr., Chelsea Light Moving) studio, Sonelab, a huge space in an old factory in Easthampton, Mass. The sessions went from very early in the day until very late at night, with the band taking it’s time to experiment. Pizzoferrato’s collection of old distortion pedals were utilized on both the record’s guitars and vocals.
The theme of the occult and the supernatural runs deep through Major Arcana, inspired by singer-guitarist Sadie Dupuis’ reading on black magic. Dupuis’ sometimes knotty and abstract lyrics bring to mind fellow wordsmith Stephen Malkmus, while referencing horror film tropes, chemistry, and neuroscience. Major Arcana’s literal translation is “major mysteries,” a phrase from . “I don’t write in a narrative way and am more concerned with use of language than meaning,” Dupuis says, “so I like the open-endedness of the title and the way it invites interpretation.”
The end result is a band able to distil their influences and creative impulses into something at once dissonant and melodic, noisy yet undeniably pop.
What the critics are saying…
“Major Arcana finds Speedy Ortiz joining a depressingly small club of young indie rock band writing lyrics that are actually worth poring over… Inspired by the whip-smart lyrics and who-gives-a-fuck attitude of greats like Pavement and Liz Phair, this band is injecting some personality into indie rock. ” – Pitchfork
“…every one of those minutes packs a wallop. Think of this as the espresso method: a strong, punchy musical concentrate. Why beat around the bush?” - Consequence Of Sound
“what makes Major Arcana noteworthy is that, while it might initially sound like a throwback, Dupuis and co. are using an old sound to say new things…” - Consequence Of Sound
Major Arcana is out NOW
WATCH the video for ‘Tiger Tank’