Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Album: Ty Segall - Goodbye Bread

Goodbye Bread (Ty Segall)
Album: Goodbye Bread
Drag City
Release Date: 6/21/11
Rating: ******* (7/10)

On the one hand, more scuzzy garage rock may not exactly be what the indie world needs right now, but on the other, Ty Segall does it right. There's a reason Segall became a rock critic's darling with last year's Lemons. His songs are well composed - simple but full of not-quite-predictable hooks and supercool licks, and he keeps it up on this new LP with impressive consistency.

The album certainly benefited from Segall's experience on multiple instruments. Prior to (and concurrent with) his solo career, he played drums and guitar in a variety of bands. The arrangements are brilliant. While staying within the minimalist confines of the psych/garage/punk genre, they demonstrate a knowledge of the potential of each voice. The guitar and vocals make plenty of room for drums and bass, and none of the parts sound like afterthoughts.

Some of the tracks on Goodbye Bread go in for big, blues, rock'n'roll riffs - "California Commercial" and "The Floor" rock hard, all crashing drums, bristling guitar and meaty bass. The strongest track on the album is the vocal-driven anthem "You Make the Sun Fry," boasting one of Segall's best melodies ever, a near-perfect bass line and a rad solo.

The album is its best at its brightest, most youthful moments. The most obvious foray into minor keys, "My Head Explodes," falls short, starting on the right track but ultimately coming off a bit limp. "Where Your Mind Goes" is a more successful attempt to give the album a darker side. It's an exciting song, but could use to be whittled down from four minutes to three. Most of the rest of the album consists of slower, ballad-y songs under 70 BPM (i.e. a bit slower than "Hey Jude"). But while the tempo suggests ballad and the volume is generally restrained on these songs, they still have that garage grit to them.

Ty Segall does his thing well, but he definitely has a "thing," and it's pretty much just one thing. So despite great songwriting, Goodbye gets a little samey at times. It's also generic enough in style (garage rockers have been a dime a dozen since the 60's) that it's somewhat forgettable. Let's just say unless you've been in a coma for the last fifty years, it's not going to blow your mind. But it might set your head to bobbin' and maybe, when you're home alone, you'll bust out your air guitar for a track or two. At the very least, it's a lot of fun.

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