Artist: Ty Segall
Album: Freedom’s Goblin
Genre: Garage Rock/Psychedelic Rock
We all know Ty Segall is a prolific musician. The guy doesn’t skip a year when it comes to releasing new material, and this inevitably raises the question “Does he favor quantity over quality,” but that question is always answered when hearing an album of his. When hearing how much thought and work is put into his shapeshifing material, it’s easy to stand back in awe with how an album of his sounds like it took years to make, but most of the time he’ll release an album less than a year after it’s predecessor. While most artists usually have a two or three year gap in between albums nowadays, Segall doesn’t believe in skipping a beat. I don’t even think he could stop even if he wanted to. He’s a dedicated student of music, and his vast appreciation for the many genres music has to offer is evident. He has gone from raw lo-fi “Garage Rock” to cleaned up “Glam Rock” to oddball Psychedelia reminiscent of Frank Zappa or Syd Barrett, and now his new album Freedom’s Goblin flexes his knowledge in Rock music, jumping from one sound to another. This may lead to incohesion at times, but this album is like a walk in the mind of Rock’s eclectic leader, and despite that incohesion, and even the hour plus length this album has, the music is consistent and never falters. The opening track “Fanny Dog” is a “Classic Rock” ditty about Segall’s dog named Fanny. It’s a sweet tribute to man’s best friend with epic horns and light-hearted guitar riffs that still manage to kick your teeth in, and if you think this track sets the tone for the rest of the album then you’re dead wrong. The track that follows, “Rain” is a dark ballad featuring ominous piano and more horns, but this time around they sound mutilated and on their deathbed while Segall expresses his distaste for sunshine. “I’m sick of the sunshine, I wish I could make it blue for you.” Sings Segall, and the vagueness of the lyrics leaves you asking questions. Is he singing about a certain someone? Why does he want the rain? Is he one of the dark souls who loves gloom, or is he addicted to this person who brings heartache and pain but he just can’t get enough? Whatever the answer is, it’s definitely the most somber but beautiful moment on the album, and the idea to put it as the second track was a bold move, because what follows is a complete departure with the track “Every 1’s a Winner,” a sexy cover of Hot Chocolate’s under appreciated 70’s gem. Oh yeah, Segall isn’t afraid to have fun. “Despoiler Of Cadaver” is another fun upbeat track that draws a lot from “Funk” and “Disco” with it’s syrupy bass grooves and Segall’s confident cadences. This album can be just as heavy as it is sexy, or dark, and Segall is no stranger to heavy. Tracks like “When Mommy Kills You” or “She” are heavyhitters where Segall truly shows his love for all things Rock and a track like “She” can go into full-on jam sessions but never strays away from the track’s central structure, but without a doubt the heaviest track on this album is the ferocious “Meaning” with it’s buzzsaw guitars and and it’s aggressive delivery. Segall’s wife Denée Segall provides lead vocals that evoke the spirit of “Riot Grrrl.” It’s a track that cuts you like a knife. The diversity on this album doesn’t stop at Heavy “Garage Rock,” or sexy Funk grooves, or songs about dogs. There are acoustic ballads like “You Say All The Nice Things,” there is a drunken “Waltz” track appropriately titled “The Last Waltz,” and even a track like “The Main Pretender” which sounds like Segall’s albums Manipulator and Emotional Mugger had a baby. There’s something for everyone on this album, and it ends with a tribute to Segall’s old Lo-fi “Garage Rock” days with a reworking of an older track of his titled “Sleeper.” This version is titled “And, Goodnight” and it is a major improvement. It’s epic, it’s emotional, and it is a perfect end to Segall’s most diverse album yet. This will not be Segall’s last album by any means, and thank God for that, but if it were this would be the perfect album to end with. It’s an expression of the endless possibilities when you’re a shape shifting musician. It’s a work of art created by someone who refuses to be pigeonholed, and we need to thank our lucky stars for someone like Ty Segall.
Written By: Steven Sandoval