Ty Segall - Ty Segall

by Texacaliago Rating:7 Release Date:2017-01-27

The dawning of a new year means many things for many different people, but if you’re Ty Segall, it usually means it’s time to drop another solo effort.

So seemingly right on time, roughly a year to the day after the release of his brilliant Emotional Mugger LP, Segall’s new self-titled album has arrived.  To say that his last two solo albums (“Manipulator” and “Emotional Mugger”) would be tough acts to follow might be a bit of an understatement, and the generally less ambitious nature of this new album seems to be a reflection of that to a degree.

Contrary to those aforementioned records, there are no overarching characters/themes or sprawling glam-rock aspirations to be found on this new self-titled album.  In fact, Segall himself described this record as a “refresher” moment for him, and after giving it a few spins, that’s exactly how it sounds: refreshing.  

Having said that, it’s refreshing in a modest sense, given that this is essentially a back to basics record for Segall.  It’s the sound of him coming back down to earth and rediscovering his garage-psych roots by taking a more straight-forward approach to his music.  On this new self-titled album, we basically have Segall in a room with a live band, hammering out some generally tasty jams along with a fair amount of more melodic numbers peppered in for good measure.

While tunes like “Talkin” or “Orange Color Queen” find him exploring the mellower aspects of his sound, songs like the raucous, hard-driving opener “Break A Guitar” or the groove-laden “The Only One” deliver that patented crunch and swagger Segall has become known for over the years.  That aforementioned “crunch” is actually accentuated by Steve Albini’s somewhat coarse production techniques, which adds a naturally raw element to the proceedings here.  This is a good thing considering Segall seems to be going for a generally more accessible sound for the most part.  There’s nothing particularly challenging or menacing on this record, as the majority of the album flows along nicely without many proverbial peaks or valleys to speak of.  Albini’s production serves to counteract the subtly catchy nature of the songs found here, which prevents the album from ever sounding too glossy or pedestrian as a result.

But despite the relatively straight-forward nature of the album, there are still some interesting moments to be found, as the 10+ minute “Warm Hands (Freedom Returns)” best illustrates.  Instrumentally, it’s kind of like an expanded version of “The Floor” (from Goodbye Bread) being that it shifts tempos often and features varying, more hard-rocking segments alternating with the mellower, more psych-flavored chorus of the song.  The majority of the 2nd half of the tune is actually a low-key, somewhat jazz-infused instrumental which helps round it out quite nicely while adding a nice spacy dynamic to the track.  An impressive song overall, and pretty fun to boot.

And speaking of fun, “Thank You Mr. K” stands out as another highlight on the album, and best embodies the more unhinged aspects of Segall’s sound.  It’s a ripping little number that actually stops suddenly midway through the song, just to briefly break some glass (literally), before launching back to the delightfully thrashy fray to close it out.  Fun indeed.

The pleasant “Orange Color Queen” follows and acts to transition the album into decidedly more melodic (and somewhat pedestrian) territory for the final three songs.  Although this initially can leave one with a slightly underwhelming final impression of the album, after repeated listens it feels more like a graceful exit to round it out as opposed to a mildly monotonous ending.

Overall, this album is essentially the sound of Segall getting back to cranking out fairly basic (but good) psych-flavored garage-rock songs.  It sounds like a slightly more mature, less infectious version of Twins but with Steve Albini’s patented corrosive production adding a distinctly raw flavor to the proceedings.

So while it may be less ambitious than his prior two solo efforts, and slightly underwhelming as a result, it still sounds fairly refreshing and enjoyable for the most part.  Considering the prolific nature of Segall, its all the more impressive that he continues to put out quality albums like this one so consistently and frequently. While nothing particularly amazing or groundbreaking for him, it is nonetheless another solid addition to his increasingly impressive catalog.

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