Friday, February 2, 2018

Ty Segall - Freedom's Goblin Review

After 2017's immediately forgettable self-titled, hearing Ty Segall would follow that up with a 19-track, 75-minute album less than a year later was not promising. Freedom's Goblin is that album, one that continues Segall's hot streak of 12(!) straight years with a studio release, and one that elaborates on the Rock trifecta (Garage, Psychedelic, Glam) he's supported throughout. Instead of being left disappointed, or apathetic in the midst of mediocrity, Freedom's Goblin actually convinced me of Segall's not-so weary legs. For one, he's never been catchier, forgoing (largely, if the 12-minute 'And, Goodnight' is any exception) exuberant guitar work that underlined his amateur jam band aesthetic. Many of these songs exist to grapple your attention, whether through Segall's bodacious songwriting, his ambidextrous vocals, the sometimes elaborate production, or those peaks that harmonize the heights of Rock. Think Glam on 'My Lady's On Fire,' Punk on '5 Ft. Tall,' Garage on 'She,' and Psychedelic for 'The Main Pretender.' Shockingly enough, Segall has nearly constituted filling 75 minutes of your time with pure, well-established Rock. There's filler of course, but the setbacks, or otherwise unremarkable hammy Singer/Songwriter attempts, shouldn't dissuade listeners from diving headfirst into the muck of Segall's world.

What's perhaps most impressive about Freedom's Goblin is that, despite the 19 tracks, quality isn't skewed in any one direction. It's not front-loaded or back-loaded, with standouts equally dispersed. Any indiscriminate grouping will most certainly show you Segall's commitment to diversifying his style. Let's inspect the first handful. Who else in Rock's current era could open an album of this magnitude with 'Fanny Dog,' a track that's literally about a well-behaved dog, before dramatically shifting gears towards 'Rain,' which heavily borrows from Radiohead's most orchestral affairs. Because of this inspirational source, 'Rain' also happens to be one of Segall's most well-crafted songs to date, providing a theatrical backdrop that entices and envelopes into something great. There's even the gaudy oddity 'Despoiler Of Cadaver' which takes a number of things from Ariel Pink's playbook, including pitch-shifted vocals and perverted guitars. Dotted throughout Freedom's Goblin are other standouts, such as 'The Main Pretender' and its frenzied assortment of horns, 'The Last Waltz' and its mawkish sea shanty, and 'I'm Free' which boasts a colorful synth arpeggio for its bridge.

Something that should be obvious, but often times is not, with an LP of this size, is the fact that there's something for everyone. With tracks like 'Every 1's A Winner' and 'Alta,' Segall's pronounced mannerisms are on full display, inviting those who prefer the artist's straightforward Garage Rock (as was seen on Emotional Mugger). 'Cry Cry Cry' and 'You Say All The Nice Things' aim to tilt attention towards Segall's songwriting abilities, even if his vocals tend to lack when covering sentimentality. There's even pure Punk reliant on energy over structure on tracks like 'Meaning' and 'Talkin 3,' inspired by the artists - like Dancing Cigarettes or Pere Ubu - caught in the transition between Art Punk and Post-Punk at the turn of the 1980's. Lastly, there's the structureless rambling's of 'And, Goodnight,' a track that, while good, drags the end of Freedom's Goblin well beyond the necessary limitations. Along with the forgettable 'Shoot You Up' and unspectacular 'Every 1's A Winner,' it represents the worst of the album's bunch. That, above everything else, is telling of the quality represented throughout. There's no question, through fun, fury, and flair, Freedom's Goblin is Ty Segall's best work yet.

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