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Ty Segall

Horn The Unicorn

Ty Segall

2007

The origin of Ty Segall's incredibly prolific solo career can be traced back to Horn The Unicorn, an album he originally released on cassette back in 2007.  The album is somewhat predictably razor-thin production-wise, but it's also surprisingly infectious for the most part.  Credit that to Segall's ability to craft tight, punchy, and visceral garage-rock jams that hit hard and don't overstay their welcome (most songs here clock-in around the 2 minute mark on average).  What made Segall's sound standout from the plethora of other garage-rockers were both his psychedelic tendencies as well and his heavily distorted, reverb-heavy, fuzzed out guitar, which gives most of these songs an abrasive quality that demand your attention.  Horn The Unicorn also features a unique surf-punk rhythm that gives many of the songs a groovy, 60s-era danceable quality to them (i.e. "The Drag" and "Booksmarts").  It's all an interesting combination, especially when he ups the intensity and heaviness with songs like "Ms White" which sounds like what would happen if early White Stripes had a baby with early Bad Brains.  It's pretty badass and arguably the highlight of the album, short as it is.  Overall, while this album is ultimately nothing special, it shows the loads of potential that Ty Segall would harness on future albums.  Interesting to hear Segall at his most stripped-down and basic.

7.6

Ty Segall

Tysegalldebut.jpg

Ty Segall

2008

Ty Segall's official debut album is actually a bit of a step back from his first solo album, Horn the Unicorn.  This album features more of a straightforward garage-rock sound, still heavy on the distortion, but lacking some of the psychedelic elements that made Horn The Unicorn a more interesting listen.  Segall sounds like a pretty pedestrian garage-rocker here, albeit with a penchant for the more abrasive aspects of that sound.  He seems to be playing it safe on his debut, as there's nothing particularly menacing or experimental to found here.  His more polished version of "The Drag" falls a bit flat, and while "Pretty Baby (You're So Ugly) is fun, it only lasts 1:18.  Overall, not much to sink your teeth into on this album.  That, along with it's amateurish nature (which actually worked on Horn the Unicorn), make his debut album the weakest of his solo efforts.

7.2

Lemons

Ty Segall - Lemons.jpg

Ty Segall

2009

While still incredibly stipped-down and raw, Lemons finds Ty Segall harnessing the more infectious aspects of his visceral sound into more fully formed songs/jams.  This is evident in the album's 2 opening tracks "It #1" and the highly danceable "Standing At the Station".  These songs are still raw, brief, and pretty abrasive sounding, but they really see Ty putting an added emphasis on the rhythm and associated crunch of his songs, which makes them more enjoyable as a result.  This album has a slightly more confident swagger to it compared to the somewhat manic, tossed-off nature of his first two albums.  Overall Lemons was the best collection of songs Segall had put on a single record up to that time.  You can also credit that to his newfound sense of dynamics and melody which rear their ugly heads on a few tracks, which in turn gives the album more variety and offers better pacing for the listener.  Granted the more melodic tendencies here are still delightfully deranged and psychedelic, so suffice to say there is nothing dull to be found here.  This was the last pervasively raw/abrasive album Segall released before really evolving and harnessing his sound in the following years.  This is probably the best offering from his early, more stripped-down days.

7.7

Reverse Shark Attack

Ty Segall and Mike Cronin

2009

Mike Cronin was in Ty Segall's original high school band, The Epsilons, and two rejoined forces to record the predictably brash and weird album that is Reverse Shark Attack.  I say predictably, because, Reverse Shark Attack doesn't sound significantly different that Segall's prior efforts, in that it is heavily distorted, groovy, menacing, garage-psych-rock.  What does standout about this record is just how heavy and brash it all sounds.  The tunes here are often head-banging inducing.  They're dense, thickly distorted, and occasionally, wickedly groovy, as evidenced by the stellar "Drop Dead Baby" (which might be the raddest song either guys had cooked up to that point).  There are a few Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd covers, which would no doubt be intensely heavy in a live setting (not that they don't sound heavy enough on record).  The album's finishing cut, the title track, stretches beyond the 10 minute mark, something unheard of for either artists up to that point, and overall it is pretty satisfying, but nothing particularly amazing.  The same could be said of Reverse Shark Attack as a whole, as well as any pre-2010 Ty Segall record period: pretty satisfying, but nothing particularly amazing.

7.9

Melted

Ty Segall - Melted.jpg

Ty Segall

2010

Melted finds Ty Segall really coming into form and solidifying his identity as an artist.  Before Melted, we knew Ty Segall could bash out some wickedly distorted, heavy, psych-rock garage jams that had a vaguely demented quality to them, but up to this point most of his albums felt unfocused and scattershot in quality.  In many ways, Melted sounds like the first unified album Segall had crafted, as virtually all the songs here actually sound fully realized. This, in turn,  makes listening to Melted a decidedly more satisfying/impressive experience compared to prior albums, but haven said that, the majority of the tunes here still retain that patented raw, scuzzed-out, rough around the edges sound that helped Segall make a name for himself in the first place.  The key here is Segall actually slows things down a fair amount, which gives these songs room to breath and develop, and at the same time accentuates the heaviness, melody, and overall crunchy rhythm of his songs.  Case in point is the leadoff track "Finger", which starts out ominously quiet before launching into a seemingly slow-motion, crushing guitar riff that, with the help of some abusive distortion, sounds incredibly heavy as it infectiously and menacingly lurches along. The quality of the tunes doesn't let up from there, as Ty churns out perhaps his most dynamic/melodic song to date with "Caesar" and strikes garage-rock gold with "Girlfriend" (gotta love the handclaps) and the downright catchy "Love Fuzz" and "My Sunshine".  Another pervasive quality of Melted is the somewhat sinister vibe that seems to be lurking in the background of almost every track, as Segall really explores the darker, borderline gothic aspects of his sound on songs like "Mrs." and the appropriately titled, incredibly dingy title-track. The addition of a warped, mind-melting (pardon the pun) keyboard on the latter track certainly enhances it's malevolent vibe as well (the same could be said of "Finger").

Melted is a good name for this album, and the cover art reflects it's generally demented vibe.  It sounds like Ty Segall melted down his sound in a dark and dingy basement and created something slower, uglier, and ultimately more profound than anything he had released before.  But the kicker is, in spite of it's often ominous atmosphere (it's actually not all gloom), it all sounds pretty damn catchy and infectious in spite of that.  The fact that it's got a somewhat twisted vibe makes the catchiness of the songs sound more profound.

Melted was Ty Segall's breakout album for a reason, and it still stands as one of his best.

8.6

Goodbye Bread

Goodbye Bread.jpg

Ty Segall

2011

Upon first listen, Goodbye Bread struck me as pretty underwhelming, sounding fairly lethargic and tossed-off in nature.  But upon repeated listens, I realized that was actually part of the album's charm. It sports a very laid-back, dare I say mellow vibe for the most part, which is a pretty striking departure from the often manic, occasionally maniacal nature of Segall's music up to that point.   But in spite of my first impressions, this album is not mellow in a boring way, mainly because most of the songs here are pretty catchy and retain Segall's patented crunchy rhythm.  The effect is delightfully sedating at times, especially when his heavily fuzzed-out grooves marry up with sublime melodies, like on the Lennon-esqe chorus of "I Can't Feel It" and the incredibly chilled-out yet heavily distorted "Where Your Head Goes". Songs like the title track and the closing track "Fine" are so relaxing they can almost put you to sleep, but again, it's not because they're dull but rather beautifully chill.  As opposed to prior efforts, Segall rarely stirs up a ruckus on Goodbye Bread, but that doesn't mean there aren't some mind-melting moments to be found here, particularly on songs like "The Floor", where he turns in some of his most impressive/diverse guitar-playing to date.

Overall, while it is a fairly modest sounding record, Goodbye Bread is a rewarding and soothing one at that.  It retains the fuzzed-out crunch of Melted, but slows things down further, significantly enhances the melodic aspects of that album, and ditches it's malevolent vibe.  This is a pretty brilliant album to wake up to in the morning if you want something that's fairly chill but still has a dense, melodic, crunchy rhythm to it as well (it's good walking to the train station/chilling on the train on your way to work music).

Goodbye Bread might not be Segall's best album, but it's probably my personal favorite one to listen to.  

8.6

Hair

Hair - Ty Segall and White Fence ALBUM COVER.jpg

Ty Segall & White Fence

2012

Ty Segall kicked off an incredibly prolific 2012 with a short and sweet collaboration with White Fence, a fellow garage psych-rocker, albeit with a significantly mellower style than Mr. Segall.  The results here are predictably psychedelic, but not in the brash, menacing nature that characterized Segall's last collaboration a few years earlier on Reverse Shark Attack.  The vibe here is much more subtle, softer, but no less dizzying.  It's a more intricate, trippier sound, which at first seems fairly underwhelming and unfocused, but reveals subtle new layers upon repeated listens.  That's not to say it's a snoozer, as the music is playfully engaging, but it is not nearly as harsh sound-wise compared to Segall's prior output.  There's nothing crunchy or headbanging to be found here, as Hair is an album that's more interested in playing around inside your head than anything else.  It's an interesting experiment that gets better with repeated listens, but ultimately does not really stand out in Segall's catalog for your's truly.

8.1

Slaughterhouse

TySegallBandSlaughterhouse.jpg

Ty Segall Band

2012

Fans that were starting to fear that Ty Segall was mellowing-out as of late will no doubt be quite pleased with his 2nd album of 2012: Slaughterhouse.  Recorded with his standard touring band, Slaughterhouse does a pretty good job of capturing the intensity and raucous energy that Segall's live shows are increasingly becoming known for.  What's particularly interesting about Slaughterhouse isn't so much it's heaviness (although it is pretty heavy), but it's somewhat proto-metal/punk sound.  Segall has arguably made more abrasive albums, but he has never made anything as high-energy and manic as this.  That's not to say that Slaughterhouse is totally unrefined, as it actually sounds like Segall's most "professionally" heavy album he's produced to date, sounding more "metal" than anything else in his catalog (or, again, at least proto-metal).  Basically he's ditched his unique brand of menacing psychedelic sludge in favor of a more balls-to-the-wall, blow your face off approach to jamming.  It's all pretty fun to listen to, particularly the final 3-4 songs to closeout the album, which really take the listener on an incredibly fun, roller-coaster ride of aggression and mayhem that certainly conjures up images of stage-diving, crowd-surfing, and yes, unbridled moshing.  So, you get the picture, this is a high-energy, aggressive album which sees Segall moving away from the more experimental, lurching, distortion-heavy crunch of his earlier records, and moving in a somewhat more straight-forward, yet still unhinged, proto-metal/punk direction.  It's a fun one that begs to be played loudly, so please oblige.

8.2

Twins

Ty Segall

2012

Ty Segall's 3rd album of 2012 was generally met with much fanfare from fans and critics alike, and many people consider Twins to be one of his best albums.  For various reasons, I am not one of those people.  While Twins definitely has more good than bad on it (there's really nothing bad here), it has always sounded a little too clean and watered-down for my tastes.  It's basically Segall's most accessible album to date, with many of the songs here sporting a somewhat poppy flavor.  That's not to say that Twins doesn't have it's fair share of exhilarating tracks, it's just that nothing here sounds particularly menacing or dangerous.  That would be fine if it had the crushing, crunchy, yet spacey melodic rhythm found on albums like Goodbye Bread for example, but in contrast Twins sounds downright thin and excessively trebley by comparison.  Similar to Slaughterhouse, Segall seems eager to explore the cleaner sounding, higher-pitched tones of his guitar, largely abandoning the distortion-heavy power cords that characterized most of his prior albums.  The result is a less heavy (but no less manic), and ultimately safer sound that looses most of the raw power that made Segall's guitar playing so intriguing in the first place.  And while Twins certainly "rocks out" most of the time here, all that wailing away on the higher end of the guitar spectrum can get a little overbearing and grating at times, in spite of the generally satisfying melodies found throughout the album.  Overall, although Twins lacks the rawness and power of his old records, there is enough subtle variety in the songs found here to keep things interesting for the most part. Ultimately Segall is playing it a bit too safe here, and seems to be crossing over into more radio-friendly territory in the hopes of growing his audience.  It happens, but at least Segall is doing it respectably and tastefully on Twins.

8.1

Sleeper

Ty Segall

2013

As the title suggests, Sleeper is an uncharacteristically subdued record for Ty Segall.  It's an acoustic album, so by it's very nature it is quiet and unassuming.  Somewhat surprisingly however is just how engaging and hypnotic it is for the most part, as Segall manages to convey a sincere since of weariness and soul on most of these songs. With a few exceptions, there's nothing particularly ominous here, as Sleeper sports a generally earnest and somewhat affecting vibe throughout.  The opening title track sets the tone for the record, and the mood stays fairly solemn throughout.  "The Man Man" is a particularly haunting tune, executed to near perfection with it's detached coolness, it stands out as perhaps the best song on the album.  Although there is not much variety between the songs, this is a mood record, so the songs work together nicely.  Sleeper ends on a fittingly wistful note with the Zeppelin-esque "The West", which does a good job of closing out a weary but often soulful album. Overall, Sleeper is a pretty ballsy record for Segall to make, especially considering his reputation for crafting sinister and often frantic psych-garage-rock. Here we get Segall completely stripped-down with essentially just an acoustic guitar for the majority of an album, which is all the more impressive considering that it's actually pretty good.  Yet another unexpected but nonetheless enjoyable evolution in Segall's sound.  The man can apparently do it all.

8.1

Manipulator

Ty Segall

2014

Ty Segall has always worn his influences on his sleeve to a certain degree, but Manipulator finds him channeling early 70s glam-rock almost to a fault.  I say almost, because, he does it so GD well, not only do you have to forgive him, but you kind of have to just sit back in awe at how well he does it (i.e. the incredibly awesome "Feel").  Manipulator is an early 70s guitar-rock fan's wet dream, mainly of the David Bowie and T-Rex variety (hence the glam) but with a generally more aggressive, up-tempo style to boot.  The production on Manipulator is clean and crisp, and there is essentially no sludge or heavy distortion to be found here, but certainly no lack of tasty riffs either.  It's probably Segall's most carefully crafted and accessible album to date, but more in a classic-rock sense as opposed to the chaotic indie-pop-rock found on Twins for example. A long-winded album for Segall, clocking in at over 56 minutes, he still manages to make the album engaging and interesting in spite of it's long running time. That's mainly because he really explores all aspects of that early 70s sound, running the entire gauntlet from driving, yet somewhat refined riffs ("Susie Thumb", "The Crawler"), to acoustic ballads with lush string arrangements and melodies ("The Singer"), to the righteously delightful neo-psych of the title track, it's all done very well on Manipulator.  It's a bit of an ambitious record for Segall, with a lot of good material, but perhaps because it is such a blatant rehash of a specific era in music, it ends up falling just short of true greatness overall.  That said, it's still a highly enjoyable, infectious record that goes down quite smooth, and seems to improve with repeated listens. Yet another very unique album in Segall's catalog and another 180 degree turn from his last acoustic record. The quality and consistency of Segall's music continues to impress, especially considering his extremely prolific nature, and certainly builds anticipation for what the man will pump out next.

8.7

Emotional Mugger

Ty Segall

2016

Perhaps reacting to the relatively polished and accessible nature of his prior album Manipulator, Ty Segall has taken a turn in a decidedly darker, more menacing direction with his latest release, Emotional Mugger.  Not only is the tone of Emotional Mugger somewhat malevolent, but all in all it's probably Segall's most twisted album to date, or at least since Melted. But it's not twisted in a frantic sense, as it's not a particularly heavy album (although "Diversion" is no slouch), but rather the underlying derisive and sinister quality of the lyrics/sound here is what really stands out.  The entire album is bathed in a sleazy, thin, synthy and glitzy fuzz that accentuates the somewhat decadently bizarre nature of the music. This is the first of Segall's albums in which he does not primarily play an instrument, which allows him to explore the somewhat sadistic character that he portrays throughout Emotional Mugger.  This is a character who seems to taunt and tempt his subjects with numerous metaphors for "candy" running through the album, and upon repeated listens it becomes clear that Emotional Mugger paints a pretty bleak picture of our modern day hyper-digitized, instant-gratification loving society, one that Segall seems to hold with a great deal of contempt. It's a compelling concept, and the decadent and twisted nature of the music compliments it well. And while this album doesn't quite hit it out of the ballpark musically, the prevailing theme and perverse style really makes it stand out in Segall's catalog. It's nice to see Segall embracing and fully exploring the darker, more experimental side of his sound, while at the same time breaking new ground stylistically. That alone may not make Emotional Mugger a truly great album, but certainly a profound one at the very least. His most compelling album to date.

8.7

Ty Segall

Ty Segall

2017

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.  

Haven 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 3 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 2 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.

8.0

Fried Shallots (EP)

Fried Shallots EP artwork

Ty Segall

2017

Generally speaking, a new 6 song EP is not always worth reviewing.  EPs, by their very nature, tend to sound somewhat half-hazard or underwhelming since they are essentially half-albums, but in the case of the ever prolific Ty Segall, the collection of songs found on Fried Shallots are overall pretty satisfying.  

And what makes them particularly satisfying for yours truly is the fact that they seem to possess Segall's trademark scuzzy and experimental flair that was largely missing from his self-tilted LP released earlier this year.  While that aforementioned LP was a pretty solid offering, you kind of got the feeling he was playing it a little too safe given the borderline generic and generally accessible nature of the songs found there.  On Fried Shallots, Segall offers up a nice variety of infectiously fuzzy garage-rock, from the delightfully decadent and warped-sounding opener "Big Man" (which clearly seems to have been spawned from the Emotional Mugger sessions), to more directly hook-laden numbers like "Is It Real?" and more groovy, borderline danceable tunes like "Another Hustle" and a scuzzy version of "Talkin". These songs (along with the hard-driving "Dust") are all pretty infectious to listen to, without sounding too safe or pedestrian.  "When the Gulls Turn to Ravens" actually sports a stripped down acoustic flavor that features a banjo...and it works pretty well.  A nice song that adds to the appetizing flavor of the EP as a whole.

So while Fried Shallots is just an EP, it feels more spontaneous and fun than his self-titled LP released earlier this year, making it every bit it's equal to these ears, in spite of it's short running time.

7.9

Freedom's Goblin

Ty Segall - Freedom's Goblin

Ty Segall

2018

After spending most of 2016 crawling around on stage in a demented baby-mask, Ty Segall spent the majority of 2017 getting back to basics touring the world with his “Freedom Band” in support of his self-titled album released last January.

Coming on the heels of a particularly peculiar and productive 2016, which included his brilliantly malevolent Emotional Mugger LP (and a really good GOGGS album), perhaps the most remarkable thing about Ty Segall’s 2017 was just how unremarkable it was on the whole. That’s not to say Segall’s self-titled album was sub-par really, but given his notoriously prolific and occasionally surprising nature, Ty's 2017 (with a tip of the hat to his Fried Shallots EP) left a little something to be desired for fans of his more eccentric tendencies given the relatively pedestrian nature of his material released last year.

Thankfully though, those aforementioned eccentric tendencies are back in spades with a few new wrinkles to boot on his markedly lengthy new album Freedom’s Goblin. Featuring a whopping 19 songs, Freedom’s Goblin is Segall’s most ambitious album to date in terms of quantity, but what’s more impressive is the consistently high quality and varied nature of the material found across its expansive 75 minute running time.

There’s a lot to unpack here, especially considering this is probably the most eclectic collection of songs Segall has ever assembled onto a single album. Freedom’s Goblin has a little bit of everything really, of course sporting Segall’s unique brand of crunchy and hooky psychedelic fuzz, along with a nice mix of respectably refined and melodic material (which results in some of Segall’s catchiest songs to date no less). But perhaps what’s most interesting is his newfound fondness for brass instruments and his occasional forays into funk, and how he manages to seamlessly incorporate those disparate sounds into his music in new and exciting ways.

Take for instance the album’s two opening tracks, both of which use those aforementioned brass instruments in very different (yet highly effective) ways. The opener “Fanny Dog” is a hard-driving yet breezy and good-natured ode to Segall’s beloved canine companion.  Featuring a rousing horn section and a popping accompanying piano, these instruments help accentuate the markedly affable quality of the track, making “Fanny Dog” a respectably accessible opener for what turns out to be a pretty diverse album stylistically. That diversity becomes more apparent over the next few songs, particularly on the following track “Rain”, which is where things start to get a bit more interesting. Contrasting sharply with the generally sunny nature of the opening track, “Rain” sounds like a weary strung-out procession through the streets of New Orleans at 4:00 in the morning. With its ample use of unruly mariachi-esque horns alternating with a somber and somewhat disquieting piano piece, it almost comes off like a goth-tinged “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35”, which makes for pretty compelling listening overall.

Segall’s use of brass instruments appears fairly frequently throughout the remainder of the album, and in most every occasion, they only serve to complement the overall vibe and personality of the given song quite nicely. Whether they’re accentuating the outright pleasant nature of more refined tunes like “My Lady’s On Fire” (which sounds like the aural equivalent to waking up to a magnificent cup of coffee at a holiday resort with your significant other…after morning sex), or adding to the chaos of the acid-jazz flavored “Talking 3” (which finds Ty channeling his inner-Beefheart), Segall seems to understand how to best make use of his horn section to enhance the impact of his music.

And on the other end of the spectrum, we find Ty dabbling in funk, most notably on his pretty awesome (and kind of ballsy) cover of Hot Chocolate’s “Every 1’s A Winner”. A classic song that few have dared to touch, Ty manages to do it justice by adding a healthy coating of his patented grimy fuzz to the mix, which makes the song sound less like a cover and more a product of his own twisted garage-rock genius. Segall keeps the funky vibes going on the following track “Despoiler of Cadaver”, which just happens to be one of the most interesting songs on the entire album. A delightfully warped little slice of retro psych-funk, “Despoiler of Cadaver” sounds like it could have been on Beck’s classic Midnite Vultures album with its wickedly groovy lo-fi production. Probably one of the most unique songs Segall has cooked up to date, and a very cool one at that.

On the more polished side of things, it’s also worth noting that several songs on Freedom’s Goblin find Segall really harnessing his melodic skills, often times with highly satisfying results. Along with the previously mentioned “Fanny Dog” and “My Lady’s On Fire”, songs like “Alta” and “You Say All the Nice Things” are probably the best examples of that. The former is a decidedly well-rounded tune with a memorable sing-along chorus that seems destined for heavy rotation in his live set, while the latter is a delightfully pristine-sounding piece of ear-candy cloaked in an aura of serenity.  When it comes to pure melodicism, it could be argued that Segall has never sounded better that he does on these tunes.

Last but certainly not least, it wouldn’t be a proper Ty Segall album without some full-fledged bangers in the mix, and fortunately Freedom’s Goblin delivers the goods on that front as well, most notably on another one of the standout tracks “The Main Pretender”. Recalling the same diseased brand of fuzz that characterized the production on Emotional Mugger, “The Main Pretender” certainly would have been right at home on that album, but considering it also sports a boisterous horn section at times, it fits in perfectly on Freedom’s Goblin, and only serves to heighten the eclectic personality of the album as a whole. The same could also be said of “When Mommy Kills You”, which playfully slashes and thrashes in the same vein with delightfully infectious results.

And speaking of infectious results, probably the most outright fun banger on the entire album comes on “Meaning”, which features an assist from Denee Segall (Ty’s wife) on vocals.  Starting out with some whacked-out Captain Beefheart-inspired noodling and tinkering, it suddenly launches head first into a pretty rad mid-tempo thrasher which simply compels one to bang your head with reckless abandon and move your body.  Simply put, it’s a fun one, but should you fancy further headbanging after “Meaning”, the 6+ minute acid-rock shredder “She” should definitely help get all that proverbial rage out of your system (another doozy of a jam)!

To round things out, Segall treats us to a 12 minute bluesy jam on the final track “And Goodnight”. Here Ty actually recycles the chorus from the title-track of his somewhat underrated Sleeper album in a Blue Cheer-inspired jam session that is overall a fairly satisfying way to end the wild ride of an album that Freedom’s Goblin is.

As mentioned prior, not only is Freedom’s Goblin Segall’s most ambitious album to date in terms of song quantity and running time, but it’s also probably his most eclectic album. Never before has Segall drawn from such a wide range of influences and styles, which is impressive in and of itself, but when you consider that practically every song here is really good, you start to realize how great of an album Freedom’s Goblin actually is. It may feel somewhat scattershot and daunting at first, but upon repeated listens you start to garner an appreciation for all the variety on display here. And it is that very variety that really keeps you on your toes and helps make Freedom’s Goblin such an engaging and highly entertaining listening experience from start to finish. The fact that Segall managed to cook up all these gems in the midst of a pretty hectic touring schedule the past year or so makes the high quality nature of these songs all the more remarkable, which is a further testament to Segall’s greatness as a musician.

It’s one thing to be a prolific, but it’s another thing entirely to do so with quality on such a consistent basis. If this decade in music has taught us anything, it’s that Ty Segall is capable of both, and Freedom’s Goblin is just the latest and greatest example of that.

8.7

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