Album review: Speedy Ortiz, Foil Deer


Adrian Pedić reviews the latest longplayer from the Massachusetts-based four-piece:

Speedy Ortiz’ third album, Foil Deer, is to grunge what Tame Impala are to psychedelia. That is, taking inspiration from a well-known and well-worn genre, before moving forward with their own visions and expression to create something original.

Given the known quantity that ‘grunge’ has become, and considering that Nirvana have never really stopped being popular, hearing such a distinctive and unique indie rock album becomes all the more rewarding. That’s the case with Foil Deer, which features some inspired song-writing, as well as its fair share of twisted and weirder moments. What’s far more rewarding is the consistent quality of the piece – lasting for just about 41 minutes and 12 songs, there really isn’t a weak track in sight.

Lead single, and overall album highlight, “Raising the Skate”, sees lead guitarist, singer and songwriter Sadie Dupuis match the tone and cadence of her voice with the erratic chorus riff, with the staccato momentum of the drums keeping pace. “The Graduates” follows, another stellar song, which sounds far more nostalgic, and has the lyrical flair and considered delivery that Dupuis is slowly becoming known for: “I was the best at being second-place/ but now I’m just a runner-up”.

It’s in the stranger songs that Speedy Ortiz make some of their more interesting moves, though. “Dot X” and “Puffer” are far off the indie-pop trail, with the latter sounding like a twisted Nine Inch Nails outtake, with its industrial guitar shrieks. On tracks like these, and even “Homonovus”, the band channels the more restrained potency, as well as the occasional abrasiveness, from groups such as Shellac and Fugazi. Combined with the sporadic and furious percussion, as well as some of the more out-there time signatures, Foil Deer certainly is an album worth sinking your teeth into.

Ultimately, Speedy Ortiz has crafted what seems sure to be one of the year’s best albums. With its extremely interesting instrumentation, the piercing lyrical poetry of Katie Dupuis, as well as the generally fantastic songwriting, Foil Deer is a gift to people who complain they weren’t around for the 90s. This is one of those albums that makes a safe argument for music being better than ever.



Review by Adrian Pedić