Ty Segall - Manipulator - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Ty Segall - Manipulator

by Pete Super Rating:9 Release Date:2014-08-25

Ty Segall has labored over the past half-decade as an architect of the sonic delivery systems that satisfy the needs of retro-psych and lo-fi fetishists alike. Tweleve full-length LPs, including his collaborations with Mikal Cronin and White Fence, and over two-dozen EPs, singles, splits, and 7ins - to say he is prolific is redundant; Pollard-esque is more like it.

Segall's output has been very consistent in tone and genre but he has never made exactly the same record twice. Adding varying degrees of power-pop melodies, metal-ish riffage, psych-fuzz splatter, and stoned, acoustic singer-songwriter accents, he's kept it lively and interesting. On Manipulator, we find Segall has corralled all his instincts into his finest collection of songs and sounds to date.

Manipulator is impressive as a double-LP. Clocking in at just under an hour, the 17 tracks make sense as a collection of songs, something few doubles are able to pull off. In addition to the prerequisite two-and-a-half-minute psych stompers, Segall consistently steers the tracks into that place where psych and uptempo R&B meet on friendly ground.

Slinky-smooth basslines over funky-ass drum riffs are some of the serious ear candy here and the recording throughout is visceral perfection. Strings add a sugary dynamic to select tracks such as 'The Singer' and the positively Bowie-esque 'The Clock'. Allusions to glam, post-punk, and mod synthesize with mercury grooves to form a style that in the future may be referred to as Segall-esque.

The record is un-failingly upbeat and propulsive, buoyed by great melodies and Segall's sugar-rush falsetto. The track 'Feel' is a microcosm of the entire record. Everything that makes this record exceptional happens in 'Feel'. A sweet melody with sweeter unison backing vocals, a driving bass groove, a blistering lead break into a percussive breakdown you'll actually anticipate, and a second screaming lead outro.

Manipulator is another of Ty Segall's soundtracks to a party in an era that probably never existed, even if we can all imagine it did. 'Stick Around' closes things out with a Stones-y vibe, a kind of hard 'Salt of the Earth' thing until it's punctured by synchronized strings and lead-guitar breaks. The song seems to lament the end of this song-cycle, but promises that even though this party's soundtrack is coming to the end of side B, more sweet mixtapes are coming down the line. Party on, Ty, party on.

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