Ty Segall Ty Segall

[Drag City; 2017]

Styles: guts, shuffle pop, dirty blues
Others: Soft Machine, Kurt Vile, Cream

I knew I liked this the instant I heard it, and that’s unusual. Scuzzy musicians aren’t my type, but Ty Segall always breaks the rules, dragging sentiment through a swamp and somehow coming out clean, leaving dregs for dead. Elegant song forms explode, set like scabs, and then the solos tear them open again. Wrought from knots and lighter fluid, trashy and rotten and weak in the knees, these guitars are relentless, forecasting contagion. They are capable of harm, but they catch themselves, rushing to the edge to shove you off before they flip the whole world over, forcing your wings out.

The nine songs are mostly the same length, but none are the same speed, mincing seconds to smithereens. Time was invented by someone with terrible taste, and this record — Segall’s ninth studio full-length, featuring his band and recorded by Steve Albini — avoids the problem entirely. It’s as wicked as Twins at a fraction of the cost, as weird as Melted but twice as pretty, oozing acerbic coffee, acid mud, and gasoline. Blues blister, punctured by metal, and the progressions race themselves to the finish only to veer into the streets last minute, resplendently.

“Orange Color Queen” is relatively tender, and “Papers” has a piano in it. Pseudo-psychedelic mini epic “Warm Hands” might make “the real men” swoon, but I prefer “Talkin’” for its slo-mo saloon lilt, delicately shot from the hip; and its sun-drunk guitar solo, ecstatic and stumbling. I refuse to pick a favorite, but “The Only One” is the best one, reckless and obnoxiously divine. “I want you to wake up,” Segall sings, and then the bottom fucking drops out. “What are you waiting for/ To walk through that door?/ It ain’t me/ Oh, it ain’t me.”

I have no idea why somebody would make a thing like this. Thank god somebody did.

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