Friday, October 26, 2012

Album Review: Ty Segall-Twins

We, music fans and music critics, really don't like prolific artists. Yes, the concept of your favorite band/artist releasing an armful of records in a year in a half rather than just one LP every few years sounds appealing, but it tends to backfire quite easily. In order to reach the title of "prolific", one usually has to put out so much that quality starts to fade, not to mention the effort in figuring out which releases are worth it, and having on top of the various side projects to keep track of as well. To be able to do something like release three albums in one year, and have them all be quality is a near impossible feat of musical prowess. Guess what Ty Segall did this year?

Twins is Segall's third release this year, and it is superb. While it could be argued that he’s been able to maintain this degree of quality thanks to others (the first album this year, Hair, was a collaboration with White Fence, and the second, Slaughterhouse, was worked out with his bandmates), but it is a testament to Segall to still have this level of work left for his “official” solo release of the year. Not to mention, I believe those previous albums helped to focus Segall into truly focusing on how Twins should sound.

That is to say Twins is monstrous. More akin to his Melted-era sound as opposed to the more stripped down sound he tried out with Goodbye Bread, but in a more mature fashion. The album is filled with some of the most creative uses of fuzz and blown-out guitar that I’ve heard on a garage record. It’s very easy to just crank an amp to 10, hit a pedal, and get by on pure energy, but Segall has moved beyond that process to something more. Opener “Thank God for the Sinners” sets the stage early, serving as a much more muscular intro cut than say “Goodbye Bread” was, launching in a flurry of fuzzy guitar riffs that somehow get amped up by the time the chorus hits. It manages to be intense and in your face without ever being overbearing in the least, much like the rest of the album. “You’re the Doctor” channels paranoia and anger into a truly manic guitar thrashing that does not let up during its two minute duration. “The Hill”, the most melodic track on the album, also has an otherworldly beauty to it as Segall’s vocals are layered with Thee Oh Sees’ Brigid Dawson’s as a drum fury and guitar screeches play underneath them. Segall’s vocals especially have been fined tuned for this release from their brattier days to nicely balanced punk tenor, switching between melodic growl and high pitched coo to fit with the track.

“Inside Your Heart” and “Ghost”, the two slow burning, bluesier numbers on Twins, while perfectly fine as individual tracks, feel somewhat out of place on the album with their stretched out solos compared to the smaller ones that punctuate the rest of the songs on Twins. They don’t ruin the flow, but disrupt it a bit. However, the album picks up a massive amount of steam again in its second half, especially with rockers like “They Told Me Too”, “Who Are You” and “Handglams” charging a steady, solid pace to the finale. Even “Gold on the Shore”, a bare acoustic track and the only real throw back to the Goodbye Bread sound manages to work here, in no small part due to its off-kilter nature. Twins reaches its last, and possibly greatest high point with closer “There is No Tomorrow”. A slice of sun baked pysch garage, it manages to be sludgy, melodic, and wistful all at once, as well as being a sort of summary of the entirety of Twins. Twins has this just inherent classic rock feel without at all sounding like classic rock. It already feels sort of timeless Nugget’s perfection, the type of record archive labels will be putting out for years. Above all else, Twins is great record.


Ty Segall's Website
Buy Twins here, from Drag City Records

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