REVIEW: Ty Segall Freedom's Goblin

Drag City Record


Ty Segall

Freedom's Goblin

Ty Segall seems unable to stop writing music, and it has yet to work against him. For his tenth solo record (mind you he’s still putting out music multiple records a year total) Segall covers the best sounds of the 70s, for a truly wonderful evolution of retro rock. While it’s definitely not the most cohesive record, there’s a constant beauty and fun to the album that makes it a wonder to listen to.

Ty Segall’s typical fanfare comes blasting out the door on “Fanny Dog” mixing a Beatles sense of melody with triumphant energy and a boisterous rock energy. “Rain” does a 180 on this for a sombre piano ballad that lets its bursts of distortion and massive drum lines match its emotional weight ecstatically. There’s a dark Jack White-like energy to dark riffs of Segall’s cover of “Every 1’s A Winner” and the sharp percussion comes together to make the song a bouncy and fresh take on the track.

“Despoiler Of Cadaver” moves into a pumping dance energy that lets Segall’s psychedelic guitar work serve a more Nile Rodgers style purpose, and the low vocals he throws in perfectly match some of disco’s weirder production styles. Fuzz is shrieking through the explosive energy of “When Mommy Kills You,” creating a weird mix of happiness and morose themes for a shocking moment on the album. “My Lady’s On Fire” subverts a classic rock mindset with weird production and Segall’s quirky vocal lines, tying it all together for a great rock song.

Sad organ lines crawl through “Alta” before it rips into an epic metal chorus, letting its heavy take on a fantastical rock song feel all the more normal. “Meaning” creates percussive magic as it slow-burns its way to a hardy rock explosion, even while it may not do it all perfectly tight. There’s a pained beauty to “Cry Cry Cry” as swooning guitar lines match the depressed lyricism for a cathartic emotional release of a track.

“Shoot You Up” gets excessively grimy and sultry in its lyricism, making for a solid, if a little derivative anthem for feeling cool. The laid back sway of “You Say All The Nice Things” that make its continued feeling of calm a welcome change of pace on the album, and one that makes Segall really feel like he’s pushing himself as a writer. “The Last Waltz” stays true to its name in its quirky beat, while twisting it into something goofy and accessible, with Segall’s duelling vocals creating a powerful split emotion in the track.

Building with purpose on “She” Segall brings a raw energy to his metal fury that slowly distorts every instrument that enters the song, although it may run too long for its own good. “Prison” runs its fuzzy and dynamic drum interlude with a heavy hand without ever feeling too overbearing for a short break on the album. With a punch saxophone, “Talkin 3” is a punk-tinged track that is as aggressive as it is over-the-top.

“The Main Pretender” swings this sax into a powerful lead hook, that finds Segall blending funk and rock together in ways that haven’t been touched in decades. The fluttering guitar lines and charged spirit of “I’m Free” are full of weight that has suddenly been let go, and you can feel the depth of the emotion in Segall’s guarded but enthusiastic delivery. “5 Ft Tall” ties the album’s folk and rock energy together for a more theatrical performance, as Segall turns a love story into a rock opera.

“And Goodnight” will obviously be a testing and bloated listen for many, but there’s a lot of meat in this track if you’re willing to listen. Through heavy and emotional jam solos, Segall emerges for a mystical verse full of worry and dedication. This sparse storytelling gives so much meaning to the rest of the song that every solo feels like Segall finally able to tell someone about what’s hurting him.

Words by Owen Maxwell