ALBUM: Real Hair - EP
ARTIST: Speedy Ortiz
The grunge, slug-rock band Speedy Ortiz has crafted a follow up to their debut album Major Arcana with the short and not so sweet Real Hair. The EP is only four tracks long but holds a significant range for the band. The opening track of the EP, "American Horror", is a classic grunge rock song with a chaotic guitar riff and heavy bass, all balanced out by the rational of the drumbeat crafted by Mike Falcone. The track highlights Dupuis’ vocals against the controlled anarchy of Matt Robidoux’s guitar. The unnatural and disjointed "Oxygal" defies all norms. It’s confusing nature in melody and sound is one of its defining qualities however. Ironically, its unattractiveness is what makes it so appealing. This ability to make the ugly beautiful is amazing and an extremely difficult skill, which is why this track should not be under looked. The enticing unattractive aspects of Real Hair are what make the small capsule of music so enjoyable. Different essential characteristics on the following tracks create a slight diversity in sound from the slower tempo of "Oxygal" and "Shine Theory" to the backmasking on "Shine Theory". Although the evolution may not be perfect for the EP, this could be at fault for the length, the tracks seem to cover a varied extent of sound, which amplifies the differences for each track, making each seem like their own separate entity. Each its own uncut and distorted treasure.
The content of the album is an exciting black hole to jump into. Dupuis holding an MFA in poetry showcases her talents on Real Hair. Although much of it is inaccessible at first listen, or several first listens, her articulation and execution is admirable. From what seems like a political statement on "American Horror" to an ode to self-loathing awareness on "Shine Theory", the album varies in complexity. Her utilization of metaphors is strong with reference to the beehive on "American Horror" and water on "Oxygal". “Down to every lisp and slur I practiced to put on/It's hard to keep a dialect when you keep changing where you come from,” holds a simple complexity, which sings Dupuis on "Everything’s Bigger". It’s an almost comprehendible idea that Speedy Ortiz puts forth, yet at the same time it holds a deeper meaning that could be existential or just personal to the lyricist herself. This is something that is so wonderful about Speedy Ortiz’s music in general- the sense that the music holds this poetic charm and can be admirable just by hearing it but when one truly listens, the interpretation is personal but can also be universal in the capacity for the imagination to absorb it.
Albeit that the EP may seem not as well developed as their debut album, Real Hair is only a four track EP that does not have the room to breath or capacity to hold as much life as a full-length album. Thus Real Hair holds great potential in their future music as it promises that Speedy Ortiz holds a talented ability to create. The knack to create a strong EP can sometimes be more valuable since it is so short and gives such a small glimpse of what the band has to offer. And Speedy Ortiz has a hefty amount to offer. A sound that reflects the great bands of the nineties such as Pavement, but they are not an imitation. Speedy Ortiz illustrates that they have the creative and innovative talent to cultivate their own sound that separates from just distortion or just grunge rock. Speedy Ortiz has the ability to balance between sluggish and energetic, poetic and chaotic, elegance and madness; Real Hair portrays all these contradicting sides that make for an unstable harmony.
“Down to every lisp and slur I practiced to put on, It's hard to keep a dialect when you keep changing where you come from”