Ty Segall

Manipulator

Written by: BV on 26/08/2014 09:58:43

It’s something of a rarity that Ty Segall hasn’t officially released anything in particular since his lo-fi folk album ”Sleeper”. – A rarity in the sense that the California-based garage wunderkind has always been insanely prolific with a massive amount of album releases behind him. “Manipulator”, Ty Segall’s latest album, is also a significantly longer affair than what is usual of his releases. With its 55 minutes or so, the double album contains a massive 17 tracks where none of them exceed the 5-minute mark – in true garage spirit.

The production is also noticeably more pristine because of the time spent on recording “Manipulator”. The album opening title track has a slick glam-rock sound a la Marc Bolan and T. Rex, with a slightly juvenile approach to the massive wall of fuzz drenched over the track as well. The result is a sort of hybrid between many of the aspects that have come to signify the music of Ty Segall. The walls of blistering fuzz, the tender musicality and the flair for unnervingly catchy songwriting – all melded together with the occasional acoustic moments that Segall introduced via “Sleeper”. “The Singer” is a perfect example of this mix, as the simplistic acoustic guitar melody that opens the track gently morphs into a mildly distorted electric counterpart, while Segall’s somewhat fragile voice lays down the enthralling vocal melody. Musically speaking, it is all relatively simple and sticks to the basic principles of garage rock; a few chords, a hint of melody and a ton of attitude – even in the quieter, more delicate moments.

“Feel” on the other hand, is a quite classic example of what Ty Segall is capable of when going all out on the fuzz. The simple bass groove that opens the track is a false reassurance of a semi-distorted, mellow escapade, as it is quite hastily followed by an infectious guitar riff that has the signature wooly fuzz sound of Segall all over it. What is, perhaps, most curious about the track is the brief break wherein nothing more than percussion is being played – giving it some sort of semi-psychedelic twist in the middle of a brutal sonic onslaught. “The Faker” continues in a somewhat similar vein with a sort of grandiose build-up that eventually culminates in one of the album’s undoubtedly catchiest tracks, due in no small part to the lyrics, but also due to the sheer groove of the rhythm section.

With “The Hand”, Segall takes care of the somewhat obligatory balladry on the album, making it a dynamic and slightly groovy experience that may hold back on the fuzz but still serves up a healthy amount of attitude, even though Segall’s falsetto vocals might initially give off an entirely different perception at first listen. “Manipulator” can, as such, be seen as a relatively complicated affair, consisting of a large quantity of different sounds that all need to be somewhat compatible to form a full and coherent album. Segall does just that, with the exception of the completely misplaced track called “Mister Main” and its strangely upbeat, yet incredibly bland soundscape which not only feels out-of-place but also genuinely uninteresting. All in all though, a single weak song out of seventeen is to be expected and the overall impression I’ve gotten from this album is that not only is it a great example of contemporary, neo-psychedelic garage rock – it just might also be Segall’s defining piece of work. At the very least it can be called a temporary, yet significant, highlight of his quite large discography.

9

Download: Feel, The Faker, Manipulator, The Crawler, The Hand
For The Fans Of: White Fence, Sic Alps, Fuzz
Listen: Facebook

Release date 26.08.2014
Drag City


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