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Speedy Ortiz Twerp verse Carpark

Building on the momentum of her Sad13 project – an optimistic, self-produced pop record which critiqued the industry’s male gaze, Sadie Dupuis breathes a kitschy pop sensibility to Twerp Verse, the third LP from her indie-grunge outfit Speedy Ortiz. The title, Dupuis said in a press release, refers to “when a musician guests on a track and says something totally outlandish like a Lil Wayne verse – but it becomes the most crucial part.” This kind of accidentally on purpose charm is what drives Twerp Verse.

But despite being decorated with perky synths, new guitarist Andy Molholt (of Philadelphia psych band Laser Background) supplies enough fuzz to rescue he record from the saccharine. Backslidin’ collapses into a rich, scratchy crescendo, while the sound of clipping gives Alone with Girls an anxious tint. Closer You Hate The Title boasts one of the brightest pop melodies on the LP, yet the lyrics make sharp observations about how people respond to those who speak out: “You hate the title, but you’re digging the song. You like it in theory, but it’s rubbing you wrong,” Dupuis sings on top of the sparkling production.

Combining heavy instrumentation with sweet sounding melody, Twerp Verse is the best demonstration so far of the Speedy Ortiz balancing act. An enjoyable record by a band working hard to have a good time.