Dark, feverish garage rock as it’s meant to be played.
Chris Parkin 2012-06-25
Psych-pop wünderkind Ty Segall likes to set his stall out early. The best-known member of ‘Cisco’s blossoming garage-punk scene (see also Mikal Cronin and Thee Oh Sees) released his first record of the year – a collaboration with White Fence called Hair – in April, and then promptly promised two more before the year’s end.
He opens the second 33.333% of his 2012 output by laying waste to the notion that garage rock is outdated with a riot of churning feedback and hair-singeing riffs – and he doesn’t let up thereafter.
Segall hinted at such dark arts earlier in the year when he told an interviewer, “I want to make a really heavy record: evil space rock.” This is that album. Those familiar with Segall’s last two releases, including his relatively storm-less solo effort Goodbye Bread, will find him armed with a new nail-studded club of a sound. He doesn’t just bash through the fourth wall – he destroys everything beyond it, before leaving the wreckage to smoulder over 10 closing minutes of white noise called Fuzz War.
This is gnarly, bones-for-drumsticks, broken-beer-bottle-wielding stuff that proves old done-to-death genres are still fair game if you play with this sort of manic conviction. From scene-setting opener Death, through the Dead Moon-inspired title track, a cacophonous and grungy Tongue, and honeyed Tell Me What’s Inside Your Heart, the band is fuelled by a cocktail of reckless energy. R&B rhythms crash in, licks are played so fast the band should wear their calluses as badges of honour, and lots (and lots) of wailing ensues.
Only on a delirious version of railroad-blues classic Diddy Wah Diddy, which Segall introduces shouting, “Alright, here we go: extra fast,” does it sound like the band are tumbling down a wrought-iron fire escape. Mostly, Segall and his band (featuring Mikal Cronin) display an impressive ability on these blazing freak-outs.
But then, if they didn’t, they wouldn’t make it past 10 seconds of each firestorm without collapsing into dust. In short: this is dark, feverish garage rock as it’s meant to be played.