The C.I.A. - The C.I.A. - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

The C.I.A. - The C.I.A.

by Joseph Majsterski Rating:7 Release Date:2018-12-21
The C.I.A. - The C.I.A.
The C.I.A. - The C.I.A.

Remember Ty Segall? You've probably forgotten all about him since he hasn't dropped an album in *checks watch* about five minutes. But don't worry, he's managed to slip one under the radar by using the moniker The C.I.A.. Very sneaky, since obviously, they'd never investigate themselves. But it's not just a clever new name. For this project, he's enlisted the help of his wife, Denée Segall, to handle the vocal duties. The result is more of his special brand of madcap, jangly fun, but with a unique flavor provided by a woman freaking out on the mic instead of the man himself.

And to be clear, this is an album that hits the ground running and never stops, blasting and pounding its way through ten tracks in a scant twenty-two minutes. Because if you know anything about Segall, you'll know that anyone who would marry him would have to have the same amount of doesn't-give-a-fuck, endless, frenetic energy as him. Everything here is lo-fi goodness too.

Lead track 'Fear' comes bubbling up like swamp gas, but then bursts into an extremely hooked up groove, before getting all squelchy and out of control. 'Reputation' rides the lightning of its mainlined guitar riffs distorted into a fuzzy smear, and Denée really belts it out on this one.

The single, 'Pleasure Seeker' is relatively chill, with a hypnotically groovy bassline. Denée stays calm in the verses but goes wild for the chorus, which piles on a few extra layers of staticky guitar. 'Gutted' doesn't quite work, using a decently gritty guitar for the verses, but Denée's chorus singing is just too screamy without enough backbone to stabilize her. But on the very next track, 'Sedition', the couple use most of the same pieces, just slightly rearranged, and it works a lot better, with stair-stepping riffs carrying the vocals along.

The weakest track on the album is also its longest, sadly. 'Power' is nearly five minutes, and as slow as a funeral dirge, but unlike the rest of the album, there's nowhere near as much going on here. Instead, it's a vague, hazy track that wanders through a dark fog without ever getting anywhere. But things pick up again on 'Harm Joy', with a lightly tripping guitar following Denée like a puppy before she works up a nice howl of her own in the chorus. And by the way, this track, like many, uses a staccato percussion style that's like wood blocks and vending machines scrambled together. It's a pervasive sound that gives the entire set a unique texture.

'Oblivion' is one minute of pure manic energy. It happens all over the place, but Denée's voice here, in particular, has an amazing 70s rock singer yowl going on, like Rocky Horror Picture show meets Ozzy Osbourne. And it blends right into the next song, 'S.O.S.', which had a frantic drum machine that makes it sound like slightly softened grindcore. It's unfortunate, then, that after such a rollicking good time, the album ends poorly with 'Gunslinger', a song that seems stuck in first gear. It moans and wails like all the rest, but it never seems to get anywhere.

Still, for the most part, this set is pretty great, with lots of energetic fun to be found throughout. Any Ty Segall fans will be well pleased with this side project. And hey, if even you don't like it, he's probably released another album by the time you finish reading this review.

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