Ty Segall’s newest album, the double LP Freedom’s Goblin, is best described as a one-man talent show. While the majority of the album does rely on his typical, lo-fi, fuzz guitar sound, there’s an entrance into the broader musical world that is rare on the record, but absolutely enticing.
This change is most frequently beckoned by the use of funk-inspired tracks, such as the songs “Meaning”, “Despoiler of Cadaver”, and “Every1’s a Winner”. The latter song is actually a cover of the soul-pop group Hot Chocolate’s 1978 hit. Despoiler of Cadaver is an original, like the rest of the tracks, but is absolutely indebted to Bowie and Iggy Pop at their glammiest. This hint of groove and near-disco is a great welcome within Segall’s aggressive, punk-inspired sound that does take up the most room on the album, which is in itself a mixed bag.
There are shorter, punk-ier, meatier tracks such as “Fanny Dog”, “When Mommy Kills You”, and “Shoot You Up” that are admirable pastiches to bands such as The Stooges, The Cramps, and the Misfits, but are not so productive towards the album as a whole. These tracks, within the larger double-album, feel monotonous and laggy, which is somewhat counter-intuitive, based on their shorter lengths and more aggressive tones.
In addition to his 70s punk-rock and 80s glam rock/funk influences, Segall reaches further in the 60s for a large Beatles tribute. These inspirations are most apparent on tracks such as “I’m Free” and “Cry Cry Cry”. These are just part of the other acoustic, softer side of the album, which at times, does feel unambitious as well. As a casual Segall fans, these softer tracks are atypical of his more rock n roll songs, and it seems like he’s just testing the waters. There’s no grand experimentation with lyrics or sound, so it gives the impression that these acoustic ballads are more a first step than an impactful piece of art.
The true strength of the album lies in the back-half, beginning with “The Last Waltz” and ending the record on the 12-minute And Goodnight. Here is where the idea of a variety show really comes into play, with The Last Waltz being a carnival track in the vein of Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite, and And, Goodnight harkening back to classic 70s rock jammers that you could find on Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath records.
Segall’s double-length LP is a mixed bag, at least for me personally. I was hoping it would be far more experimental than it is, but he seems to be content with staying in his usual lane, at least for the most part. More tracks like the 6-minute rocker She or the aforementioned Last Waltz would be very welcomed. There’s a great single album somewhere in the mix, but it’s lost within the monotony of his garage rock.
By: Jackson Wright