Ty Segall has probably broken a guitar or two. Maybe in anger, maybe in stage-rockin' fury, or maybe just from over-use? Who knows, but the guy's made a lot of music lately so he's probably cracked an axe in half, you know? But hopefully he's not going to break one when he goes out on the road in support of his fine new self-titled album, out Friday on Drag City.
The record kicks off with that previously-mentioned "Break a Guitar", all Floyd "The Nile Song" riffs driven into overdrive, while "Freedom" offers up something funkier and looser. Ty sounds more in command of this one than he may have on tracks on previous albums and it's a sign of the overall quality found on Ty Segall. This is, quite simply, one of his most consistent records.
Now, that consistency is not jeopardized at all by Ty's usual brand of risk-taking, here exemplified by the epic 10-minute "Warm Hands (Freedom Required)", part acid blues, part space rock freak-out. It's a blast of fun and, oddly, it's dropped down right in the middle of the record. The other players that have been assembled this time around -- Emmett Kelly (The Cairo Gang), Mikal Cronin, Charles Moothart and Ben Boye -- join Ty in making some of his best songs in some time, from the wilder stuff like this 10-minute jam to other, more traditional cuts. "Talkin' is beautiful, Sixties-style melodies and lazy day guitar licks, while the T.Rex-inspired "Thank You Mr. K" roars atop one of the best Segall hooks in ages. If "Orange Color Queen" offers up a lilting Beatles-esque melody, it's an indication that Segall has more firmly harnessed his considerable gifts, gone are the blasts of feedback and wig out stuff. I mean, Segall is still pushing the envelope but, somehow, Ty Segall is more cohesive than some of his previous releases, a fact made clear by the gorgeous purr of the final full-length song on the record, "Take Care (To Comb Your Hair)".
Ty Segall is a prolific fellow. At some points in the recent past, I've worried that his prodigious output ran the risk, like that of Robert Pollard's, of offering up a resulting set of tunes with layers of diminishing success. Those fears were misplaced as it seems that with Ty Segall the guy has managed to both maintain his usual style while producing something that is remarkably tight and cohesive. There has been, perhaps, no better sample of Ty Segall's sound than the appropriately-direct Ty Segall.
[Photo: Kyle Thomas]