|Ty Segall’s ninth full-length digs deeper into the raging guitar psych of his last few recordings— Emotional Mugger certainly, the Fuzz albums, and before that Slaughterhouse—but also probes a folky psychedelia shared by sometime collaborator Tim Presley. This new album shares a name, but not much of a vibe, with his 2007 debut album, whose minimalist one-man garage stomp is a far cry from these overdriven squalls and jangly ditties.
Segall reconvenes most of the Muggers here — Emmett Kelly, Mikal Cronin, Charles Moothart and Ben Boye— and, yes, that’s a lot of guitar players. In fact, if you had to pick one representative sound for this no-holds-barred album, it would be that of at least two guitars going at it on electrified solos, sort of aware of each other, but not exactly constrained. In track one, “Break a Guitar,” Segall confesses that he was made “in the red,” before inviting mayhem as he slips off for a cold one, “Come on take it, take my guitar, I’ll be, I’ll be at the bar.” Chaos ensues, naturally.
And yet while Segall definitely brings the rock in tracks like “Break a Guitar,” “Freedom,” and “Thank You Mr. K,” there’s more variety here than in recent albums. The long “Warm Hands (Freedom Returned)” has its Beatles-esque LSD dreams, its spiraling solos, its riff-driven, metal-flirting midsection. Still 10 minutes is a long time, long enough to turn towards the mystical in the Krautishly expansive, in a jazzy cool interval lit by electric piano, which sounds, more than you’d expect, like the Doors’ “Riders on the Storm.” And what can you make of the lackadaisically countrified “Talkin’,” the softest, twangiest Segall cut on record, which turns a gossiping girl’s chatter back on her in an extended I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I argument.
There’s more soft focus psych pop as the album continues, exuding warmth, sweetness and melody. “Orange Color Queen,” the single, jangles with acoustic gentleness and folky sincerity. Even when the drums kick in, it’s pillowy soft, sung in near-falsetto and eased across, not a squealing solo to be found. “Papers” swaggers more, but stays well out of the red zone. “Take Care (To Comb Your Hair)” both ingratiates and burns it all down, threading what was a quiet, comfortable melody over a building roar of guitar dissonance. Far from nailing down who he is or what he’s attempting in this second self-titled album, Ty Segall seems to be trying all different things. Good for him.
DOWNLOAD: “Break a Guitar,” “Orange Color Queen,” “Warm Hands (Freedom Returned)”