What do you have in your garage? Boxes of old music magazines, nuts and bolts from old bikes and an overwhelming smell of petrol if you’re anything like me. What prolific American rocker Ty Segall has in his garage is at least half a dozen albums of squally rock n’ roll.
Opener ‘Death’ sets the scene on what is intended to be the heaviest of three albums released by the singer/guitarist under various guises this year. Similar to The Vines at their most abrasive, it feels a lot more authentically DIY than wannabes like The Vaccines with vocals low in the mix, shouty choruses, tub-thumping drums and thrashed power chords.
The title track is 1.31 of tortured vocals and raging riffage that could have come straight off Nirvana’s ‘In Utero’ while ‘Tell Me What’s Inside Your Heart’ finally tacks a substantial melody over the riotous backing, with the power chords finally giving way to some surfy ‘whoo-ooh’s and a squalling whirlpool of a guitar solo. The militaristic flourishes at the end of ‘Wave Goodbye’ lead into a guitar blow-up that leaves amps shrieking with feedback and Segall sweating and quivering. You can almost sense the band bashing it out in their garage and indulging their fantasies of playing to legions of adoring fans.
‘Muscle Man’ owes a debt to the Pixies, with a particularly sweet vocal reminiscent of Kim Deal and harsh loud-louder dynamics. Some tracks like ‘That’s the Bag I’m In’ just feel like rants and Segall’s voice is thin and reedy but as almost all the tracks could be first takes you’re inclined to forgive a few rough edges. ‘Diddy Wah Diddy’ opens with the mastermind directing his trio of cohorts to play faster and louder than ever before whilst final track ‘Fuzz War’ is an epic Hawkwind-esque noise-rock meltdown that lasts almost three times as long as any other track.
At first I was rather unsure about ‘Slaughterhouse’s DIY punk revival but after a few listens it becomes clear that Segall is not just a chancer aping his idols (Iggy Pop, The Replacements) but a songwriter playing with the same freedom and love of noise, melody and self-expression that his heroes did all those years before. Get in the garage and crank it up.