Ty Segall/Mikal Cronin - Reverse Shark Attack

by Steve Reynolds Rating:9.5 Release Date:2013-01-22

Ty Segall and Mikal Cronin released Reverse Shark Attack originally in a vinyl-only format in 2009. Now it's set for a fully-fledged rerelease in all formats in 2013. Ty and Mikal grew up together as long-time buddies in Long Beach and they brought together their love of garage rock, belligerent guitar thunder, psych rock and love of scuzzy lo fi to RSA.

To be honest, the whole thing is a bloody shambling mess, starting with the in-your-face noise of 'I Wear Black', the vocals are incoherent as the scratchy production and effects-laden guitar clank and grind together. The warming fuzz and the occasional Vincent Price black howl makes for a variation on a pastiche, and the illogical time signatures lay the foundations for the rest of the album.

There are only eight songs on RSA and the majority of them clock in at less than two minutes. The aggressive, inharmonious arrangement continues throughout 'Drop Dead Baby', with a deep-throated, almost Johnny Cash delivery which drops the octaves a little while the primitive drum sound wrestles incessantly with the distorted guitar. It's almost like a battle for power with no sign of either party willing to give up.

'High School' has a shriek Alan Vega would be proud of as trashy, direct guitar fuzz smashes and crashes relentlessly through your lug-holes. 'Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk', a Pink Floyd cover, could have been a result of a jam left on the cutting room floor and thrown in for extra spunkiness. Its echo and achingly brooding arrangement is enchanting.

The only real key change on 'RSA' is the title track. It's a step outside the rest of the album and is sedate to say the least - or so you think until it reaches its two-minute finale. The vocal delivery sounds like it's been recorded in a fish tank, while the Captain Beefheart-esque setup, wailing noise-pop and off-tangent key-changes tie up 10 minutes of inexorable chaos.

Reverse Shark Attack is a pocket of incoherent nuggets and, thankfully, resurrected for all the right reasons. It's sound is as current now as it was when originally released and, if a shambling mess is this good, then you can basically forget about the rest of what 2013 has to offer guitar-wise. Ace!

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