San Francisco songwriter’s latest LP is a rambunctious 35-minute blast.
James Skinner 2012
Ty Segall is a hard man to keep up with. Over the last few years the young songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has assembled a discography that swings from lumbering psychedelia and exuberant glam to coruscating garage rock.
Twins is his third LP of 2012, following Slaughterhouse and his White Fence collaboration, Hair. It constitutes an admirable effort to capture the myriad facets of his sound in one rambunctious 35-minute blast.
“Blast” is the key word here. Segall is a talented guitarist with a penchant for fuzzed-out, powerful noise. The sweet, acoustic Gold on the Shore sees him harmonise with Peter Grimm as they detail a “sweet summer breeze” and plans made during endless sunny afternoons on the shore, but it really is the exception rather than the rule.
Though song titles like Love Fuzz and Inside Your Heart might suggest a softening of sorts, Segall is poised over his distortion pedal throughout, and the results are mighty effective.
The Hill, for example, boasts a trad-folk opening courtesy of fellow San Franciscans Thee Oh Sees’ Brigid Dawson, but it is a matter of seconds before this relative tranquillity is pulverized by bruising riffs and snarled lyrics. Dawson’s vocal takes it in stride, gliding upward to meet Segall’s as the song spins a chaotic web that teeters on the brink of losing control, but, somehow, just about keeps it together.
Twins is a pile-driving yet playful record that loudly proclaims is influences, from Nirvana to The Doors, Hawkwind to The Stooges, Bowie to Lennon. Segall’s enthusiasm is contagious; whether he’s hamming up the sleaze on the ferocious You’re the Doctor or crooning falsetto shapes over the almost doo-wop Would You Be My Love, his is an assured and enjoyable presence, perhaps none more-so than when Handglams morphs from a grungy lament flipside of The Hill into bruising stoner rock.
It’s anyone’s guess where Segall will go from here – he has a habit of confounding expectations. But rest assured, if it’s on the level of the streak that Twins seems to draw a line under, it will be a treat for the rest of us.