Ty Segall: Freedom’s Goblin
Yes, he’s prolific. Yes, he’s unpredictable. Yes, at times his music is utterly sublime and loaded to the gills with mind-bending riches. And yes, he can also be maddeningly indiscriminate when it comes to sequencing a cohesive album. But whatever musical direction he chooses, one thing is certain: Ty Segall is getting better at this as he gets older. All the signs were there with his ninth album, the aptly named Ty Segall, which he released at the beginning of 2017 amid a flurry of activity that included the outstanding EP Sentimental Goblin . Demonstrating a range that went well beyond the heavy garage-psych sound he perfected with his (similarly) self-titled debut in 2008, Segall had come full circle with an album of truly anthemic bliss, from the 10-minute rock epic “Warm Hands (Freedom Returned)” to the sweet, acoustic rambler “Take Care (to Comb Your Hair”). Freedom’s Goblin, a sprawling 19-song double album recorded in five different studios (including Segall’s own well-equipped house in LA and progressing to Steve Albini’s Electrical Audio in Chicago), might very well be his magnum opus. Dank sludge funk drives his brilliant cover of the Hot Chocolate soul classic “Every 1’s a Winner,” and then gives way to the sunny California folk-rock mood of “My Lady’s on Fire,” with Segall somehow channeling Jerry Garcia’s vocal tics in the song’s opening verse. “Cry Cry Cry,” a poignant breakup song, is a stunning nod to the early post-Beatles sound of George Harrison, while “The Main Pretender” surges with a psych-glam groove that showcases the consistently tight Freedom Band—Emmett Kelly (guitar, vocals), Ben Boye (keyboards), Mikal Cronin (bass, vocals) and Charles Moothart (drums)—who move with ease between the molten-hot garage punk of “When Mommy Kills You” and the lighthearted balladry of “You Say All the Nice Things.” There’s a little of everything on Segall’s monumental 10th album, and it all feeds into his growing stature as a songwriter with real depth, passion and conviction.