Ty Segall finds himself on self-titled album

Instrumentalist’s ninth album features mix of all genres


Album: Ty Segall

Artist: Ty Segall

Label: Drag City

Released: Jan. 27

Grade: A-

Ty Segall is not lazy. Though he has not yet hit the mainstream, it is not for lack of output. This self-titled record is Segall’s ninth solo effort in as many years.

Segall’s solo efforts came after his membership in bands like Fuzz or his many collaborations with the likes of Mikal Cronin or White Fence.

Since 2008, Segall has transitioned into an eclectic performer, generating buzz from his ability to sing, play guitar and drum at the same time.

In addition to his eccentricities, Segall is also known for his particular fusion of psychedelic, garage and glam rock. The artist also has a penchant for wild experimentation, often reinventing his sound between records.

Whether he’s working with folk music on records like Sleeper and Goodbye Bread, or creating crushing noise rock on Slaughterhouse, or fusing lo-fi and glam rock on Manipulator, you’re never sure which of Segall’s many styles are going to take the front seat on each consecutive record.

This is likely Segall’s most diverse record to date. The record flexes his songwriting muscles and wow listeners with just how many sounds he can pull together into a cohesive record.

To examine each individual track on this record is a lot like looking at the rings in the middle of a tree, with each ring representing a different genre of music Segall has made in the past.

The record begins with the track “Break a Guitar,” which is rife with flashy guitar solos and a distinct lo-fi crunch due to the production, courtesy of the infamous producer Steve Albini.

The record also boasts the multi-phase track “Warm Hands (Freedom Returned),” which is an excellent testament to how incredible Segall is as a songwriter. The track is over 10 minutes in length and not one minute of it feels stale.

The track moves through multiple phases of tone and tempo and conveys a powerful sense of catharsis with the artist’s impassioned shouts and breakneck tempo changes.

Tracks like “Thank You Mr. K” and “Papers,” show how Segall doesn’t shy away from showing his weirder side on this record.

The first track is a speedy garage rock nightmare with an angular, sticky hook and some truly surreal lyrics. It’s also split in half by a short interlude of nothing but the sound of a porcelain toilet shattering.

This album also has other, more conventional acoustic tracks. “Talkin’” is a rather tongue-in-cheek track about projecting one’s own insecurities onto others and “Orange Color Queen” is a very sweet, catchy ode to Segall’s girlfriend.

Unfortunately, this record is not without its flaws. “Freedom” bears a lead guitar riff that sounds almost exactly like the Beck track “Threshold,” a track originally penned for the Scott Pilgrim vs. the World film soundtrack.

“The Only One” and “Take Care (To Comb Your Hair),” sounded great but seem lackluster compared to some of the other tracks on the record, which leave them being slightly forgettable.

The gamut of genres Segall runs on this record can be appreciated, but the occasional dramatic shifts in tone between each track can leave the record feeling inconsistent, or without focus. Segall does all of these styles justice, though some of these tracks would be better suited on a full album of a similar sound.

Despite its flaws, this is an excellent record for the artist and marks an appropriate starting point for those looking to delve into his daunting discography. What album one moves onto after this should depend on what aspects of this record you enjoyed the most.

For those who appreciate the intricate songwriting of tracks like “Warm Hands (Freedom Returned)” and “Orange Color Queen,” Manipulator would be the most logical record to listen to next. For those who appreciate the risks Segall takes on “Thank You Mr. K,” last year’s Emotional Mugger should satisfy that desire for experimentation.

Alternatively, if you appreciate the heavy jams on a track like “Break a Guitar,” then Segall’s first self-titled record released in 2008 is your best bet.

In an era where pop and hip hop dominate the charts, Segall certainly makes a strong case against the irrelevancy of rock music in 2017 with this self-titled record.

Nicholas Cieri is a staff writer and can be reached at art@ubspectrum.com