January 26th, 2018 | Album reviews

Freedom’s Goblin
Drag City

Perhaps your first introduction to Ty Segall—the guy who has helped save rock & roll—was the ripping garage-rock masterpiece Twins in 2012. Perhaps it was the psychedelic-glam stylings on 2014’s Manipulator or Hair, the collaboration with Tim Presley of White Fence. There was also Ty’s Sabbath phase on 2012’s Slaughterhouse, his Americana phase on 2013’s Sleeper and his freaked-out noise-rock phase on 2016’s Emotional Mugger. (Longtime Ty fans may remember his one-man-band era, and the self-titled debut a decade ago that helped reignite garage rock in the USA.) That’s ten solo records in ten years, plus several others playing with bands like Epsilons, Fuzz and GØGGS, and so it would seem that our hero can finally rest easy, having more than proven his fertility and versatility. Au contraire, reader: on Freedom’s Goblin, the latest product from the Ty Segall song factory, he again reinvents himself with one of his wildest and most ambitious releases to date. Playing alongside the newly-assembled Freedom Band (which includes many of his usual suspects), Segall displays again his continuous desire to set a new and higher standard for himself. Opener “Fanny Dog” —written about Segall’s pet dog Fanny—is a ferocious introduction that holds nothing back, lighting up this new long-play with horns blazing. “Every 1’s a Winner” is Ty’s rampaging rendition of Hot Chocolate’s 1978 disco-funk banger, somehow featuring Fred Armisen on drums. “Rain” is a delicate Beatles-esque piano ballad, while the acoustic “My Lady’s on Fire” tenderly echoes longtime Ty inspiration Marc Bolan. With nineteen tracks recorded at five separate studios, Freedom’s Goblin is a record displaying acrobatic ambidexterity. Segall’s career-spanning influences blend together here to create something that isn’t consistent in its sound—instead, it reveals a much deeper consistency of essence. Sure, it may seem indulgent and overwhelming at times, but his self-exploration and his desire to push boundaries is why Ty is so celebrated in the first place. One thing is for certain: even ten years in, it sounds like Ty Segall is truly just getting started.

—Bennett Kogon