“American Horror”- Speedy OrtizJared McNett
Massachusetts band Speedy Ortiz’s second album Major Arcana, is incredibly anachronistic. Debuted in July of 2013, the record would’ve fared equally well if released in the mid-90s when Built to Spill’s sprawling guitar odes first came within earshot. Even lead-singer Sadie Dupuis’ voice drifts into Doug Martsch territory. “Slacker” is an easy word to toss-off when you hear her warbling though the understated melodicism signifies a tireless worker. And the rupturing guitar solos the band provides couldn’t possibly come from anyone sunk into a couch.
The mighty guitar wallop of new-cut “American Horror” obliterates any couch. Hearing those first feedback laden seconds, another Amherst, Mass band comes to mind. Dinosaur Jr. continues to be the gold-standard of indie-rock guitar heroics, and Speedy Ortiz seems to be cut from the same cloth. Add a few RPMs to the track and you’ve entered into “Kracked”. Dupuis’ proclamation “no it’s not what you think,” drips with just enough snotty adolescence to keep it away from wounded-animal territory. It does thrash like a sickly beast on its last leg however. Guitar feedback splays to every conceivable angle and drums perpetually throb. “You’d be out on a stretcher after your home-stretch,” goes a key line before the song hurtles into the first chorus. The aesthetic suggests “90s”, but the noise ensures the group didn’t hear anything from the entire decade.