Record review: Speedy Ortiz ‘Sports’ EP (Boston Globe 6.01.12)

Posted on February 10, 2013

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Speedy Ortiz - SPORTS Cover Art

It takes a uniquely Massachusetts ear to champion the kind of sludgy, wry guitar scrub-brush of bands like Northampton’s year-old four-piece Speedy Ortiz. Its new record, “Sports,” (the band’s first collection after a couple of Internet-only singles), resurrects the floppy-stringed rock guitar dissonance of old-school Boston bands like Kudgel and Swirlies, or Rob Crow from Pinback’s predecessor Thingy, who forged similar anti-anthems out of the grimiest of chords. Speedy Ortiz takes this ball and runs with it, with strings twisting and tangling like moldy spaghetti, rotten sinews spilling out over dishes topped with Sadie Dupuis’s strangely sweet vocals (performing live must be a chore, as Dupuis handles half the guitar surgery as well). “Basketball” makes a holy deconstructed mess of the sport, Dupuis deciding “I wanted my own hole to crawl through/ Still do.” Buzzsaw guitars and handclaps boost up its gnarly hook, which is equally grating and soothing. The bittersweet “Curling” swings low like the Breeders at their most morose, charting a course into an uneasy future. “Once there was a time I thought we’d take a train across the country/ Never see our friends again . . ./ Well honey, I’ve got the house/ I’ve got the dog/ And I’m waking up mornings and showing up on time for my job/ So don’t bother to call me.” With any luck, the band has plenty more in them before they reach that point.

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