Prolific, eclectic and fresh
By Paul Rigg
2018 looks like being Ty Segall’s
The man who is often compared to David Bowie, because of his capacity to produce outstanding songs across a huge range of genres, releases Freedom's Goblin on January 26 and it is being viewed as his most ambitious and best album yet.
The album’s 19 songs were recorded during sessions in Segall’s new home base of Los Angeles, as well as Memphis and Chicago, and was put together with the help of Steve Albini, F. Bermudez and "Boo" Mitchell, plus the backing of his ‘Freedom band’ that regularly include Emmett Kelly (guitar), Mikal Cronin (bass), Charles Moothart (drums), and Ben Boye (piano).
Segall is just 30 (8 June 1987) but he is a prolific composer who has already released 10 solo albums. He has previously favoured a Fender Jaguar and an original Sonic Blue Fender Mustang, but on several tracks on this album, including the outstanding ‘retro psychedelic-funk’ fourth track, Despoiling of Cadaver, he really shines with a black Travis Bean TB1000S.
Freedom’s Goblin kicks off with a blistering rock tribute to his favourite canine,Fanny Dog. Don’t miss a barn-storming live version of this track on Conan/ TBS on Youtube, where Segall and seven members of his band dressed in white painter’s, or perhaps doctor’s, outfits (yes, really), use trumpets, horns, and several great guitar solos to create a huge sound and raise hell in the studio.
The cover of Hot Chocolate’s classic Every 1’s a winner will probably receive mixed reviews, but Segall cannot be faulted for his bravery as he transforms this soul-funk song into a headbanging number with his fuzzy rock guitar sound. He also achieves this effect without losing the fun and humour in the original song.
There is a clear 70s vibe on the track My lady’s on fire, which starts with acoustic strumming before opening up into a T-Rex like sound, before finishing with a saxophone. This song again demonstrates Segall’s willingness to experiment with a mix of old and new sounds but, in the end, to make it his own.
Another marvellous song, also with a 70s feel, is The Main Pretender, which led one reviewer to say that Segall is “one of the very few saving rock music today.” This view is lent credence by the acid-rock She, which begins with heavy driving guitars, and is then followed by the two lead guitarists riffing off each other wonderfully; there are lyrics but they take second billing on this track.
Alta has a Nirvana type feel to it and some more great solos that cut in at around two minutes. “I will give my life,” Segall sings, and you kind of believe it.
Freedom’s Goblin is full of “the most violent, passionate, funny and free pop songs”, said one critic, and it is difficult to disagree with this perspective. With a huge US tour in the offing, 2018 seems set to be Ty Segall’s breakout year.