Ty Segall & White Fence Hair Review

Album. Released 2012.  

BBC Review

The duo discovers depth in the often two-dimensional world of garage revivalism.

Alex Denney 2012

Even by the hit-and-run standards of the scene that spawned him, Ty Segall isn’t one to hang around. Since being discovered by Thee Oh Sees’ John Dwyer thwacking drums for a local band with his arm in plaster, the 25-year-old Californian has busied himself crafting an approach to garage rock that’s roughly the inverse of Black Lips’ cartoon goonery, loosing an avalanche of material in the process.

Hair follows hot on the heels of last year’s frazzled, downbeat Goodbye Bread and is Segall’s first collaboration with White Fence, solo guise of The Strange Boys’ Timothy Presley. It sounds pretty much exactly as you’d hope from this misfit pairing, combining the former’s obsession with the sour end of Lennon’s Beatles output with Presley’s penchant for psych-ward trippiness.

As such, Hair is disconcerting and surprisingly subtle — Time’s lilting acoustic number sweetens its Syd Barrett-ish strum with sighing touches of electric guitar that recall George Harrison, while I Am Not a Game adds ponderous organ to its rough and tumble riffage, splintering at the exact moment it stumbles into some sort of momentum.

Easy Rider is a taut and prickly standout, while The Black Glove/Rag brings to mind the shambling psychosis of cult psych-folk warrior Alexander ‘Skip’ Spence, dissolving into all manner of ill-mannered noise and fire-alarm guitar scree at the climax.

Segall and Presley fire the tempo up a notch with Crybaby, a glam-tinged rock-and-roller with heavily reverbed vocals lending a gnarly, Cramps-recalling touch to proceedings. It’s filler-ish, maybe, but not without a certain panache.

(I Can’t) Get Around You feels similarly slight, and works more as a platform for the pair’s bad-vibes guitar work than as a fully-rounded song. Scissor People, meanwhile, kicks up a Them-like fuss before rudely morphing into a motorik groove by way of some head-squashingly loud blurts of guitar.

Finally, Tongues is a melty, mid-paced groover with a thicket-y undergrowth of rattled percussion and blissed-out vocals – it actually puts one in mind of The Beta Band’s baggy classic Dry the Rain, though the effect is no doubt unintentional.

It’s also a satisfying closer to this fine and adventurous release, which finds depth and nuance in the often tryingly two-dimensional world of garage revivalism.

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