Published Jan 25, 2017It's been just shy of a decade since Ty Segall released his first self-titled album, and here he is, at it again. Another year tends to mean another record from the restless Segall (who told The Guardian this month that he disagrees with being seen as prolific, saying "look at the Stones or the Beatles back in the day — they put out two albums a year"), and 2017 is, already, no exception.
Free from the conceptual Emotional Mugger or focus of the glammed up and glittery Manipulator, Ty Segall has the feel of a greatest hits compilation, if you will, despite being composed of entirely fresh goods. It's an all-encompassing sort of album, plucking feelings from previous releases while also touching on undiscovered sounds.
Ty Segall crunches on opener "Break a Guitar" and again on the push and pull of "The Only One," both of which have the same wall of sound that 2012's gnarly Slaughterhouse fed us. "Thank You Mr. K" shares the frenzied folly of Twins, while "Freedom" may remind you of Goodbye Bread or Melted. In a funny sort of way, Ty Segall feels simultaneously nostalgic and forward-looking, the latter due to the overdubbing that Segall isn't particularly predisposed to but has taken liberties with on this release.
The acoustic and harmonized "Talkin'" (which was teased a tad in "W.U.O.T.W.S." off of last year's Emotional Mugger, if you listen closely) has the warmth and familiarity of a true sing-along; it's a tune that your mind will find hard to quit. The sweetness of "Orange Color Queen," an ode to his red-headed lady Denée Petracek, is sincere and not too ooey-gooey, but doesn't come as too much of a surprise given Segall's softer touches in the past (2013's all-acoustic Sleeper, for example).
The album's true highlight, though, is its lengthiest number, "Warm Hands (Freedom Returned)," which clocks in at slightly over ten minutes. It tells the tale of being physically reconstructed ("He can show you where, he'll arrange it / He can show you how to be famous / It's complete, now you're pretty"), and runs the gamut of styles — its ripping riffs and eerie vocals make it heavy and hectic before its gentle melt into a jazzy breakdown, Wurlitzer and all. Then the mania comes crashing back, only to dissolve once more into an instrumental hodgepodge.
It's hard to tell if Ty Segall would've benefitted from having its rougher and softer cuts split in halves; that is, having Side A comprise the former and Side B the latter. As it stands, it feels a tad odd having the acoustic "Talkin'" tucked in between heavier numbers. Perhaps that would've been too obvious a thing to do, though — plus, Segall has never been one to do the obvious.
Ending with "Untitled," which is just two hard strums, a laugh and a "woo!," Ty Segall is a mixture of boisterous and blissful, and certainly is a great place to start if you're looking to introduce someone to Segall's ever-fattening discography. Here's looking forward to album number ten, likely surfacing soon. (Drag City)