BY FRED MILLS
The über-prolific San Fran savant known as Ty Segall has been multitasking like a motherfucker over the past few years, releasing records at a clip that’d make Bob Pollard or Ryan Adams green with envy. Yet on last year’s Sleeper, a woozy/folky/droney lo-fi excursion he seemed to be taking a musical deep breath, and now we know why: batteries duly recharged, he’s back in all his messy, glammy, garagey glory, with what just may turn out to be one of 2014’s finest full-on rawk excursions.
How does yours truly count thee ways? Stones, T. Rex, Thin Lizzy and, er, Bay City Rollers fans can only fall to their knees, gnash their teeth and rend their clothes in the face of such godlike genius. With more guitars per capita here than a barrelful of cheap-ass Sears Silvertones, Saint Ty blasts out the wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am boogie (“The Faker”), sweetly serenades in waltz-time, strings-laden reverie (“The Singer”), goes all faux-funk for the Nuggets set (“It’s Over”) and out-teenybops pretty much every pop combo on the planet with the insanely—that’s pop, with power,regardless of whether that means vintage British Invasion or contemporary boy-band to you—catchy “Who’s Producing You?” And in stark contrast to much of his previous output, Segall and studio co-conspirator Chris Woodhouse aim for, and achieve across 17 wildly diverse yet remarkably cohesive tracks that suggest the artist is moving well past his garage roots into a more mature, baroquely psychedelic phase.
Call it “genuflection rock.” Segall has long been tagged as one of indiedom’s brightest lights, but the sheer quantity of music he’s released over the past five years or so may have diluted his overall impact. No more—in 2014, when a slew of indie artists (among them, Warpaint, Angel Olsen, War On Drugs, and Sylvan Esso have already issued genuine, consensus-building masterpieces, Manipulator represents a defining statement from a musician that should enjoy a long, healthy career to come.
DOWNLOAD: “It’s Over,” “The Faker”