Album Review: Ty Segall – Manipulator

Ty Segall is one of the most renowned names in rock n roll from recent years, and with good reason. The dude knows exactly how to make his guitar crunch and shred with the same ferocity as being run over by a stampede of rhinoceros (rhinoceroses?). He has the same ability to turn a guitar into a chomping trash compactor as Jimmy Page, and he hurls it into the pop sensibilities of Husker Du and The Replacements. It’s music to be thrown against a brick wall over and over again.

Over the years, Ty Segall has shifted from the more mucky Cramps-like recordings that were on ‘Lemons’, ‘Melted’ and ‘Goodbye Bread’, and into cleaner sounding recordings, with ‘Manipulator’ falling into possibly the squeakiest he’s been. But, it doesn’t stop him from absolutely shredding. After the calm and collected Segall that was unveiled on ‘Sleeper’, it’s thankful that he’s gone back to making songs that would deafen a firework engineer.

The album is packed with songs so loud, they’d un-deafen Pete Townshend. There’s ‘The Faker’, a track so chugging and large, it’s like a train that’s piloted by Creedence Clearwater Revival. There’s the spindly and slimey “The Crawler”, which is like a spider that learned how to tied a distorter pedal to each of it’s limbs and jumped. “Susie Thumb” has a similar effect of plunging the listener headlong into a rabbit hole about how much of a shallow idiot Susie is, all whilst loaded with poltergeist-raising riffs.

Continuing along, “Feel” manages to retain a super creepy, shlock horror, (almost) Black Sabbath vibe , with a blood-soaked guitar stabbing solos into our hearts, time and time again. Seriously, that solo is straight from a witch’s cauldron, made from the blood of a serial killer’s bat, and the most toxic poisons of the Amazon. It’s an exotic thing that can only be found in the darkest corners of the world. And “Connection Man” is like an interstellar rock hit, like something two bong-smoking aliens would traipse around the galaxy to when they couldn’t find their KISS cassette tapes.

The songs are good, there’s no doubt about that. However, when the album is centrally built around 2-3 minute goldmines, and said album goes for a full 58 minutes, with 17 tracks in total,  it becomes slightly exhausting to listen to so many high-modal thrashers. What made some of the older Ty Segall material so effective was because the albums were short, and sharp, and that the shitty production, that made it seem like the songs had built in tape hiss, gave a little humanising and ordinary quality that helped pace the record out. It feels like Ty Segall could’ve separated this record into two searing records, and maintained the punch without knocking out the listener.

However, when the only real complaint about a record is that the artist in question has gotten better equipment and actually has a bit too much good material, then the album in question can’t be bad. ‘Manipulator’ is still a choke-slam, and has got you gagging for air faster than a rollercoaster ride going at light speed whilst blasting an audiobook of 50 Shades of Grey. Boom! Ther’s a fucktonne of dynamite in this record, and it’ll keep blowing your fingers right off until you physically can’t put the record on anymore.

‘Manipulator’ is out on Spunk Records right now, AND Ty Segall is fucking coming to Sydney. He’s gonna be at Oxford Art Factory, on Wednesday 17 December. Why haven’t you clicked this link to buy tickets yet?


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