It shouldn’t have made a difference that Ty Segall’s self-titled debut on Castle Face Records contained Segall’s demented take on one-man-band-ness (complete with one-legged drumming), but it did for me, simply because I had no idea until it was too late. The sparse combination of guitar/bass-drum/tambourine had already sunk its bicuspids into me; no time for a reassessment, only room to become steadily more impressed. Oh, and then came the cavalcade, as you find so often these days: a split with Black Time; Horn the Unicorn, which collected stuff from tapes and such; a full-length on Goner, Lemons, that plied the punk end of the spectrum more than the self-titled effort had; and a host of 7-inches.
An often overlooked nook in Ty Segall’s discography is his collaboration with Mikal Cronin (whose work with Okie Dokie is vicious), Reverse Shark Attack, a more aggressive, MC5-bathed-in-echo-+-blood effort that took Segall’s sound in the perfect direction. It would have been nice to hear Segall take more of the sonic-jolt action of Shark Attack to the bank on latest full-length Melted, but he instead shifts subtly into a mode that, ideally, would let his songs shine more than their fuzzy dressings.
I’m not sure it works. A lot of these tunes, particularly the title track, “Mississippi,” “Bees,” and “My Sunshine” (despite the latter’s initially pleasing verse) drag under the weight of slower tempos and songs that often refuse to veer. The cuts that succeed — “Mike D’s Coke,” “Imaginary Person” — do so because they offer more personality than Melted’s straight-ahead post-punk chuggers. “Mike D’s Coke,” for example, is a bass blast headed straight to a glorious nowhere, while “Imaginary Person” takes off too, rocking it acoustic like a track off the last Jay Reatard record before a stunning synth cuts through the leads.
“Alone,” on the other hand, is a half-and-halfer, residing in the middle regions of interest, boring us for the first few minutes then ramping up to a chaotic conclusion. When you couple that with a few stabs at the effect of Brian Jonestown Massacre’s terrific Thank God For Mental Illness (without being willing to take the chances BJM did and with way less players), a few tracks that sound like one of Mudhoney’s slow-ass formative songs, and the vaguely Black Lips-ish decor, what you get is — short of a disappointment — an average record with less of the explosive rock caricatures we’ve come to expect from Ty Segall. I wanted more from Melted.