Ty Segall is not the type of guy to sit on his laurels. He doesn’t put out an album and then sit, lay back and just coast on good reviews for awhile. It seems that usually by the time he puts a record out he’s already onto the next record, project, music obsession, etc. For those that have been on the Segall train since the beginning that’s an exciting prospect(and an expensive one.) But for the passive listener finding the right place to start with Segall can be daunting. Each record seems to be made by a slightly different version of the man. “Last go round Segall was all about the Beatles and Fairport Convention, but this time around he’s all about Sabbath and the Stooges.” Again, if you like these 90 degree turns you’re in for a treat.
Over the last few years Ty has been veering into wilder territories. Manipulator, Emotional Mugger, and Ty Segall were all wildly unique from another, with Emotional Mugger being an outlier of bizarro weirdness the likes Captain Beefheart would tip his hat to(check out some live clips with Ty in the baby mask.) Well just shy of a year from when Segall released Ty Segall, he’s back with his second double LP(the first being the solid Manipulator) called Freedom’s Goblin. You’ve got a lot of the usual here with fuzzed-out guitars, big drums, and Segall writing catchy jams one after another. This time around he’s mining more 70s funk and even the Stones’ Exile On Main Street. Where Manipulator felt like a psychedelically woven-together concept, Freedom’s Goblin is more just a patchwork of horn-fueled jams that never quite mesh completely to my ears. It’s still pretty fun, nonetheless.
“Fanny Dog” Is the first thing we hear and it lays down some serious electro-funk rock and roll. Brass blast and electric piano sprinkles the background with Nicky Hopkins-like magic. It’s a big blast of classic rock. “Rain” sounds like a New Orleans funeral procession as conceived by Queen. That’s followed by the excellent Hot Chocolate cover “Every 1’s A Winner”. This is an all-out banger. It’s like Segall was meant to cover this his whole life. He proved he was worthy of the funk crown on Manipulator and lives up to that groovy promise on this track. “Despoiler Of Cadaver” is a slice of disco weirdness, almost veering into a mix of Faith No More and Of Montreal with a touch of Blondie. “When Mommy Kills You” is a blast of fuzzed-out weirdness. Big glam harmonies mixed with punk rock abandon(and even a touch of Supergrass thrown in.) “My Lady’s On Fire” is an acoustic-driven ballad with plunky electric piano, some tight drumming and horns that takes this track into Dan’s “Dirty Work” territory.
And we’re only a third of the way thru.
What else do we have? “Alta” is a big rocker, complete with fuzzy riffs and big melodies. “Meaning” lays on the cowbell and grooves pretty thick before going all molten lava punk stomp that is all the more effective with Segall’s wife Denée Segall laying down some vicious vocals(this one’s a highlight, guys.) Then we get back into balladeering with “Cry Cry Cry”, a mix of George Harrison and the Raspberries. “Shoot You Up” is sleazy 70s glam, and “The Last Waltz” is a wonky alternate universe 3/4 bizarro stomp. Imagine Three Dog Night melting into a black hole while still attempting to entertain. That’s what this sounds like.
Listen, Ty Segall borders on musical savant territory. There doesn’t seem to be much the guy can’t do, play, write, and bring to fruition on his albums. He surrounds himself with amazing players that are excellent songwriters in their own right, but are willing to put their own art off to the side in order to play with him. Freedom’s Goblin is yet another run of solid tunes that Ty Segall seemed to just pull out of the ether. This time around he’s fascinated with horns and funk with a smattering of weirdness throughout. At times precise and at times unhinged and scattershot, it’s a mostly engaging listen with a few true moments of greatness. Within Freedom’s Goblin‘s 75 minutes, there’s a truly classic 50 minute album.