If Raising The Skate was the immediate first single from Speedy Ortiz, The Graduates is the slightly kookier sibling. The track hinges around a clean guitar lead, before some grungy distorted guitar comes in by way of Nirvana. Sadie Dupuis’ lyrics tend to be more confessional that previous album Major Arcana, where any meaning was wrapped around a metaphor about a tank full of tigers. This time, Dupuis admits ‘I was the best at being second place’. She also weaves stories about being ‘French school dropouts’ and being ‘Pregnant on the balcony’. Like ever, Speedy Ortiz has a knack for their Pavement-by-Nirvana melodies and smart-ass lyrics that sound like they have actually been thought through.
Whilst not as easy to approach than Raising The Skate, The Graduates is a playful song with plenty of punch. It hints that Foil Deer may have Speedy Ortiz aiming for a more accessible sound as The Graduates sounds like Speedy Ortiz trying to make their Nevermind. Dupuis’ vocals have also improved vastly from Major Arcana, sounding more refined and in control and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it fits the sound a lot more. The guitars, courtesy of new guitarist Devin McKnight and Dupuis, are winding and twisting, noodling around like something from the last Parquet Courts record. It’s a solid backup single, although not as anthemic as Raising The Skate.