Ty Segall Band: Slaughterhouse Review
At this point writing reviews of new Ty Segall albums is starting to feel a bit like writing a Father’s day card. It always seems to come increasingly quickly after the last one and while you are happy, you are afraid you are going to repeat yourself. How many ways can you thank a person for doing what they do before it sounds trite and banal? Thanks Dad for supporting me for 26 years…you are the BEST! I hope this card from Walgreens does the trick in conveying the message. That is starting to be the feeling with new Ty Segall material, as he hops from one success to the next, doing all of the right things to the point where it almost has become an expectation. Fuzzy garage rock laced with rich melodies? Check? A range of material but mostly half drunk, fist pumping T-Rex esqe jams? Check? A record that is packed front to back with solid jams that follow a successful formula without sounding like retreads? Fuck…check.
Ever since I randomly got a copy of Ty Segall’s debut record in the mail a few years back, he has been one of my favorite artists around. He has chosen the Bob Pollard “release as much shit as possible” method, although Segall’s work has been more consistent than Mr. Pollard. Ranging from solo studio records to live albums to EP’s of T Rex covers to collaboration albums with White Fence, the material has wavered ever so slightly, yet even the worst stuff were records that were better than 95% of the rest of music I hear. His latest record is Slaughterhouse, credited to the Ty Segall Band, which is his touring band and includes the equally talented Mikal Cronin. Things don’t change much on the record, which is a good thing, but makes for repetitive reviews. From the thick, righteous crunch of “Wave Goodbye” to the noisy meltdown of “Death,” the songs sound like home sweet home for fans of Segall. For those uninitiated, Segall’s wheelhouse is straightforward garage rock wrapped in waves of fuzz. The songs could be stripped of the ruckus and stand their ground, but Segall thrives on the dissonance. Songs like “That’s the bag I’m in” have disenable pop songs near the surface, but Segall’s throat shredding scream and the fury of the band cranking up to 11 keep the listener at a safe distance. “The Tounge” is proof that you only need about three minutes, and just about that same number of chords, to make a richly dense and incredibly commanding song—if you are Mr. Segall.
Each time I see news of a new release from Segall, I get both excited and anxious. Any record he releases has a decent chance of being a favorite of mine for the year, yet that means I have to find a way to sound moderately intelligent when writing about his work. He finds a way to reinvent the wheel, taking a well-worn sound and making it fresh, so that puts pressure on us hacks to do the same.