The rock ’n’ roll genius of Ty Segall is remarkably profound. From painfully fuzzy garage punk to his latest self-titled record that’s equal parts fuzzy guitar rock and melodic Beatles-esque early laidback psych rock, Segall and company are bathed in the blood of rock ’n’ roll past present, and future. There’s even acoustic guitar on this offering (audible gasp).
Backed by a crack group of musician cohorts—Cairo Gang’s Emmett Kelly, keyed instrument guru Ben Boye, and usual rabble-rousers Mikal Cronin on guitar and Charles Moothart on drums—the record lends itself to the same abrasive energy with just a few more succulent layers. Everything is played live in the studio, capturing the spirit and essence of the men and their art, which has yet to be done up until this point for a Ty Segall record.
What’s sonically captured are unabashed rock songs like opener “Break a Guitar”, extended psychedelic jams like on “Warm Hands (Freedom Returned)”, and even a country diddy ala the Rolling Stones-esque gem, “Talkin’”. You can even hear a toilet smash at precisely 1:28 seconds on personal favorite psych trash rock anthem, “Thank You Mr. K”, in an obtuse version of audio verite as opposed to its cinematic infamy. The crunch of “The Only One” is imperviously perfect, one of which I wish would never depart my frontal lobe.
“Orange Color Queen” has a Kinks feel, all set to a bouncy acoustic guitar rhythm culminating in a dual electric solo just a few octaves from one another. The closing vibes are full and vibrant and all primarily acoustic guitar lead in “Papers” and “Take Care (To Comb Your Hair)”. The former is a bubbly pop mantra; the latter is a jangly love ballad in the vein of follicle hygiene—each lovingly capped off with some fuzzy guitars before the final chords are plucked.
Segall shows his diversity here. Not hiding behind a wall of fuzz, wailing guitars and vocals, this record is a few layers deeper into his innards. Rest assured your garage punk appetite will be satisfied 13-fold, but Segall dives deep into unchartered waters, at least compared to records past. Anything has been game for his live shows if you’ve been lucky enough to attend his gigs. And if you haven’t, a proper tour in support of this gem is already booked.
Segall’s timing is impeccable with freedom and no bullshit being the common theme for this album. No mask, a proverbial A-Team of noise makers in the studio hacking out bits of protests and gluing them back together in the red blood of “patriotism”. What the world needs now is more rock records like this, the second self-titled bounty of greatness from Ty Segall. It’s nine and ¼ songs of ramshackle bliss—part Kinks, part Stones, a dab of Thee Headcoats, a spitball’s worth of Marc Bolan, and all Ty Segall. Ty Segall is his finest effort to date, a superb record and one that will help save rock ’n’ roll, which isn’t dead, it’s merely been regrouping.
Originally published at PopMatters 1/27/17