Speedy Ortiz - Twerp Verse

by Brian Thompson Rating:8 Release Date:2018-04-27
Speedy Ortiz - Twerp Verse
Speedy Ortiz - Twerp Verse

With their 2013 debut, Major Arcana, Speedy Ortiz quickly won over indie rock lovers with their off-kilter melodies and infectious outpouring of raucous energy. After a few years of silence, the Massachusetts four-piece is back, ready to wax poetic about everything from sexual frustration to political outrage. Twerp Verse, the band’s third studio album, finds the outfit breaking new musical ground, while still supplying fans with their trademark spastic waves of unrelenting stamina.

In 2016, frontwoman Sadie Dupuis found a new musical outlet in the form of her synth-pop solo project Sad13. It would appear that some of the fizzy electronic stylings of the side gig have rubbed off on her bandmates on this record. With the aid of guitarist Andy Molholt (of psych pop group Laser Background), the band has incorporated a peppy pulse throughout these tracks, from “Villain” to “Moving In.” Still, the band isn’t afraid to take risks; songs like“Sport Death” and “Lean in When I Suffer” are bursting forth with glowing ambition. Twerp Verse takes countless sonic left turns, but each genre experiment is bound by a pop-centric skeleton.

No matter the musical backdrop, fans of Speedy Ortiz can always expect the band’s quirky brand of humor to shine through. Twerp Verse doesn’t disappoint with the lyrical wordplay. Even when the verses are dripping with anguish, there are always sharp lines delivered with a smirk, as on “Lucky 88” (“I once was lost but now I’m floundered”) or “I’m Blessed” (“I’m blessed with perfect pitch / I waste it on songs that you’ve never even heard of”). Much of the charm Sadie Dupuis brings to the table is directly derived from her sardonic, self-deprecating wit. It’s much more than a gimmick; it’s a clever means of self-preservation.

Like many other politically minded acts of our time, the band uses this album as a platform by which to express their dissatisfaction with the current cultural climate. Never is their message more clear than on closing track "You Hate The Title," an audacious jab at the victim-blaming patriarchy. As the track notes, many survivors of sexual assault who come forward are criticized for the semantics of their confessionals. It’s a glaring indictment, but one that’s oozing with bubblegum dreamscapes.

An album as catchy as it is timely, Twerp Verse is the band’s most inspired release to date. Some of the harsh edges have been shaved off their lo-fi sound, but Speedy Ortiz certainly hasn’t lost any bite. From its inception, the record latches onto the listener and refuses to let go. While the band was born out of a nostalgic longing, they no longer allow for easy categorization. Few contemporary bands are able to match this level of addictive earworms.

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