Album Review : Ty Segall’s ‘First Taste’

That California Mad Hatter of indie rock Ty Segall is back with a new album. Coming down from the T. Rex grooves and Detroit City rock/funk of Freedom’s Goblin, his newest First Taste looks a little more inward. Segall still knows how to shake a tail feather or two, but this feels less like an extroverted peacock and more like a cautionary stoic laying grooves while contemplating the world around him. First Taste covers 12 tracks of varying degrees of eccentric rock; from hard luck funks to sizzling rock and roll, all with Ty Segall’s very idiosyncratic style. It’s another summer charmer that will rock your car speakers(whether you like it or not.)

First Taste is different in that Ty Segall opens the instrumentation up quite a bit. He used the usual rock and roll tools of trade like guitars, bass, and drums, but he’s also putting the koto, recorder, bouzouki, harmonizer, mandolin, saxophones and brass to good use. Peppering the usual Segall rock bangers with such diverse instrumentation makes the listening experience that much more engaging.

Opening track “Taste” opens the album on a massive sound. It’s as if Segall wanted to incorporate The Chemical Brothers’ “Block Rockin’ Beats” into his usual garage sound. It’s a disarming and eye and ear-opening thing to behold. Groovy percussion hits the ears, as well as some brass which makes this song bust out at the seams in the best way possible. “Whatever” follows that up on some serious drum ‘n bass groove. If WAR and the Stooges had ever collaborated in the early 70s it may sound like this great track.

Elsewhere, “Ice Plant” sits completely on its own with gorgeous multi-tracked vocals and harmonies that shimmer in the air. It’s an acapella piece where Segall allows some sweetness to seep into the sound. “Lone Cowboys” is another laid back track with woodwinds and vocal harmonies that once the drums kick in your primed and ready for the driving, acoustic-led track.

Ty Segall is both ever-evolving and staying true to that same sound he introduced us to with his album Melted nearly a decade ago. Whether it’s garage rock, ear-splitting noise, mind-melting psych, or 70s funk, Segall pushes his sound a little further each time. First Taste sticks to that formula, and that’s a very good thing.

First Taste arrives August 2nd, 2019 via Drag City Records

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