Well-established garage rock musician Ty Segall’s self-titled album came out on Saturday. Utilizing both familiar and new sounds, “Ty Segall” exemplifies matured songwriting, as well as diverse tonality. Ranging from confusing to beautiful, the songs are upbeat and often drenched in his signature fuzz distortion.
His sound in comparison to his earlier releases, such as “Manipulator”, hasn’t changed much, but he conveys his musical development through other aspects. Some of the most notable songs on the album are “Freedom,” “Warm Hands (Freedom Returned),” and “Orange Color Queen.”
Though there were a handful catchy melodies, what sticks out in the songwriting of this album (especially regarding the tracks listed) is the manipulation of rhythm and unique song arrangements.
The first track, “Break a Guitar,” was reassuring for any Segall fan. The upbeat song utilized the noise and garage rock devices that listeners would associate with his sound: splashing cymbals, harmonized vocals, as well as messy guitar solos.
Although the song had flashy sections, there wasn’t anything catchy or unique about it. Apart from capturing what a garage rock fan would want to hear, as far as aspects of tone, it lacked a solid hook and was generic in comparison to the other tracks on the album. After this first track, though, the songs started to get stranger and better.
Keeping the energy of “Break A Guitar,” but with offbeat chord changes and a cleaner tone, “Freedom” was a perfect second song for the album. “Taking my freedom/Now I can feel it/ Getting closer to breathin,” Segall sings over rapidly shifting chords and abrupt pauses. Utilizing awkward breaks and offbeat rhythms, the verse hooks the listener. The chorus that follows is straightforward with a very singable melody, contrasting well with the dissonant and noisy solo immediately after.
“Warm Hand (Freedom Restored)” was a conceptual continuation of “Freedom,” but tonally the songs couldn’t have been more different. The ten-minute track starts slow and minor, then immediately picks up out of nowhere. The song exemplifies incredible arrangement, hardly ever repeating, but instead smoothly moving to new sections with different timings and melodies.
Halfway through, the dynamics of the drums quiet and allow for an extensive groove, while guitars and the piano solo simultaneously. The musicians then come together to play the chorus of the former song, “Freedom,” before going back to the same groove, further exemplifying the artistic use of song arrangement.
Some of the more melodic and well-written songs include “Talkin’” and “Orange Color Queen.” These were the few songs based on melody, as opposed to a guitar riff, which really helped diversify the overall tone of the album. Both were upbeat and utilized frequent vocal harmonies, showing off a different side of Segall songwriting reminiscent to classic rock-era pop music. Though these songs weren’t as intricate, and some parts were repeated more often (with the exception of tempo changes in “Orange Color Queen”), they are nonetheless original and fun to listen to.
This album is great because it exemplifies a multitude of different styles very well. Shifting between fast, noisy garage rock, heavy downbeat riffs and guitar lines, and easygoing pop songs, this album has diverse appeal to all aspects of rock. Without limitation to a certain genre, it differentiates enough that it’s easy to listen through the full album chronologically (which I assume was one of his goals when writing it). Whether you’re a die hard fan or new to Segall, it’s worth listening to.