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Foil Deer is the sophomore album from Massachusetts Speedy Ortiz. "I'm not bossy, I'm the boss," Sadie Dupuis sings on first single "Raising the Skate," invoking in spirit one half of the Carter-Knowles clan and echoing the other's wordplay. And wordplay makes sense, considering Dupuis the band's songwriter, guitarist, and frontwoman spent the band's first few years teaching writing at UMass Amherst. She's drawn to the dense complexity of Pynchon, the dreamlike geometry of Bolaņo, the confounded yearning of Plath all attributes you could easily apply to the band's 2013 debut Major Arcana, which fans and press alike have invested with a sense of purpose and merit uncommon in contemporary guitar rock.

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Dupuis wrote much of Foil Deer at her mother's home in the Connecticut woods, where the songwriter imposed a self-regulated exile and physical cleansing of sorts, finding that many of the songs came to her while running or swimming alone. "I gave up wasting mental energy on people who didn't have my back," she says. "This music isn't coming from a dark place, and without slipping into self-empowerment jargon, it feels stronger." Many of the songs deal with a similar sense of starting over, editing out the unnecessary drama. "Boys be sensitive and girls be, be aggressive," she sings on "Mister Difficult." And while their debut album was recorded on the fly, Speedy Ortiz spent almost a month in the studio on Foil Deer. Mike Falcone's drums are taut, mechanistic; Darl Ferm's bass ranges from the aggressive rattle of an AmRep classic to smoother, hip-hop inspired lines. Devin McKnight, meanwhile, lends spacier, textural riffs to complement Dupuis' wiry, melody-driven guitar style. It was recorded and mixed at Brooklyn's Rare Book Room with Nicolas Vernhes (Silver Jews, Enon, Deerhunter), with the record mastered by Emily Lazar (Sia, Haim, Beauty Pill), lending a more polished sound and a pop sensibility that will stand out to existing fans and new converts alike.