Ty Segall: Goodbye Bread Review
San Francisco garage revivalist Ty Segall produces music like he’s living on borrowed time. Over the span of about three years he’s released four LP’s, one live album, as well as a whole slew of EP’s, splits, and compilation entries. The amazing thing though is that even while producing at such a frantic pace, the quality of Segall’s work has remained remarkably consistent. Throughout his last four LP’s Segall has continued to branch out and grow artistically, reaching his apotheosis in last year’s terrific Melted.
But, with Melted still a fairly recent memory, Segall is already back with a new record, Goodbye Bread, his fifth total and first on the venerable Drag City label. And if Melted was a fast and loose tumble of freewheeling garage punk, with Goodbye Bread Segall has quieted down a bit and gotten a little more serious. His lyrics are still difficult to make out but do contain more meaning than the yelps and squawks that marked much of Segall’s earlier work.
Lyrically, when he’s not singing tongue in cheek tracks like faux advertisement “California Commercial,” Segall tackles romanticism in the hopeful and guileless voice of a young man. “Comfortable Home (A True Story)” deals with homemaking with a loved one. Fuzzed out bluesy jam “You Make The Sun Fry,” is paean to a sun kissed lover. Even when he’s sounding bummed out (such as in the dreamy melancholy of “Goodbye Bread”) Segall sounds clear eyed and full of romantic aspirations. And he doesn’t stay blue for long – in the example of “Goodbye Bread” the cheering up (or perhaps just getting frustrated) is engendered by the tune’s gradual ratcheting up from woebegone guitar chords to a full out garage rock explosion.
While generally speaking Goodbye Bread is marked by a slower more deliberate sound, Segall generally doesn’t keep his spirit under wraps for long. Bread may be evenly paced, but it’s still punctuated by forays into the brutal guitar riffs of the Ty Segall of yesteryear, even if they are fewer and further between. The balance between hard and soft is one that occasionally brings to mind groups like T. Rex and even Led Zeppelin, both of who could actually be quite a bit more subdued than most people remember.
Segall recently released an EP of T. Rex covers, and his kinship with Marc Bolan’s sound is particularly evident throughout a lot of his work. “You Make the Sun Fry,”, and “Fine,” both particularly bring to mind a punk infused Californian’s take on psychedelic glam. He also delves into low-fi slacker rock, putting his unique touch to the genre in fuzz-laden tunes like “I Can’t Feel It,” “My Head Explodes” and “Where Your Head Goes.”
Segall’s sound, while indebted both to his garage and glam forbearers, is also singularly his own. Rock, folk, and punk are all blended together but the result is firmly something that can’t be summed up by a single descriptor. Goodbye Bread can be both brutal and sweet. It is economical and to the point, while still taking roundabout detours into experimental and psychedelic flourishing. It’s both the Ty Segall of Lemons, Melted, et al, as well as being the Ty Segall of the today (and the future?). It’s Segall’s most accomplished album to date, even if it may not be his most accessible.
— Jon Behm
Goodbye Bread will be available on 6/21 via Drag City
Ty Segall: Site