Speedy Ortiz – Real Hair EP

Speedy Ortiz are about to get huge. The four-piece from Massachusetts released their debut album last year (Major Arcana) to critical acclaim and now follow it up with this EP. Produced by Paul Q. Kolderie (who has worked with Pixies, Hole, Dinosaur Jr., and Morphine), Speedy Ortiz stay true to their 90s heroes and have produced a record to show that Major Arcana may just be the start of something big.

My first introduction to Speedy Ortiz was through No Below, in my opinion the best song from their debut. Whilst nothing on Real Hair can quite match up to No Below, with its despair entangled with optimism, Sadie Dupuis, the lead singer and main songwriter, has certainly improved. Major Arcana is a distortion-heavy, 90s influenced album which shows characteristics of a band finding their true voice. The songs sounded a little disjointed and, whilst it was a fantastic record, it showed there was room to develop. Real Hair offers a more mature band. Still very distortion-heavy, Sadie Dupuis seems more confident in her ability to lead and her vocals have also improved. This 13 minute EP excellently shows that the band continues to evolve and, although they don’t stray too far from their sludgy, 90s sound, certain songs (such as Everything’s Bigger) provide a glimpse as to what we can expect in the future.

The opener, American Horror, carries on where Major Arcana left off with a distorted melody and lyrics about a relationship gone wrong. Oxygal features obscure lyrics which present an insight into Sadie Dupuis’ mind – “and who wants to sleep by her who death becomes/someone who sleeps with her neck in reverse/it’s only me”. This self-deprecating view shows Dupuis is attempting to write in a more revealing manner whilst the song itself has an eerie feel to it like a twisted fairground. Everything’s Bigger continues this introspective lyricism with “and I don’t know whose call it was that I should share a life/With someone who resembles me and copies my speech”. Dupuis hints at a double personality which also could be implied from the title – Everything’s Bigger – although she only has one body, it is bigger in the inside as it contains two minds/personalities. This song shows the most growth from the band with a slight move away from their 90s influence and towards them creating their own sound. The EP ends with Shine Theory, a song taking huge inspiration from early 90s alt-rock. Dupuis’ vocals are once again forefront of the song and she definitely impresses.

The Real Hair EP is a step in the right direction for this American band that displays huge potential. They provide a new sound in an increasingly bland musical scene. This EP shows that Speedy Ortiz may not succumb to the dreaded Sophomore Slump and their full length follow up is eagerly awaited.

by Elliot Druce