Ty Segall: Twins
In Ty Segall‘s electrifying performance of “You’re the Doctor” on The Late Show with David Letterman, he howled like Kurt Cobain and hooted like Little Richard. The characteristically raucous performance felt like a culmination of sorts, as though Segall’s long-building buzz had finally hit a fever pitch. Promoting his third album of 2012, Twins, Segall gave Late Show viewers a sample of the careening psychedelia that his fans have been enjoying since 2008. While the intensity of Segall’s performance was no surprise, the nonchalance with which he commanded his biggest audience yet served to highlight Segall’s charisma: that elusive and unquantifiable quality that makes rock stars out of mere musicians. That charisma is on full display throughout Twins.
For more established artists, participation in multiple projects is one way to experiment with different musical personalities without diluting or distracting from a prevailing sound. In an age where brand equity is everything, it’s simply smart marketing. With less of a name to trade on, relatively speaking, Segall’s employment of the multi-project practice seems to stem from his dearth of creativity. He has a lot to say and if the past year is any indicator he doesn’t want to wait to say it. The three albums Segall put out in 2012 – Hair, Slaughterhouse, and now Twins – do highlight his versatility. Taken on their own, each is a distinctive offering. Plot them on a map, though, and it becomes apparent that while they may vary by degrees, they occupy the same stylistic meridian. Twins has the melodiousness of Hair and the sinister fuzziness of Slaughterhouse, but it feels more personal. Both Hair, with it’s cryptic lyrics and off-kilter jangle, and Slaughterhouse, which lurched with noisy abrasiveness, seemed design to confound. Lyrically, Twins is both more coherent and more intelligible. Structurally, the rock template from which Segall draws inspiration is more apparent. All the elements of a Ty Segall album are present, but in a more accessible way. This dynamic is best embodied on “The Hill,” which features a haunting female chorus, a blistering solo, and a forward momentum that rivals the best parts of Slaughterhouse.
Segall’s sound, which runs the full gamut of garage rock, is vast a departure from the twee and the synthetic that dominate the Spin-Fork landscape. It’s outmoded, willfully obtuse. But in its directness, it transcends both its garage rock basis and the artifice of its contemporaries.
MP3: Ty Segall “The Hill”
Buy: iTunes or Insound! vinyl