Ty Segall: Freedom's Goblin (Drag City) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Ty Segall

Freedom’s Goblin

Drag City

Feb 21, 2018 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

When you’ve carved out a solid career for yourself as a cult-favourite of California’s throbbing garage psych scene, and are capable of releasing more good material in a single year than most artists could hope for in a lifetime, where do you go next? For Ty Segall, eschewing an album of critically solid, fuzzy freakouts and opting for brass and (whisper it) ballads should feel like an obvious misstep. However, Segall truly brings the goods on Freedom’s Goblin by embracing a multitude of risky rock moves before turning the whole thing into something that feels remarkably fresh with his workmanlike mastery.

Opener “Fanny Dog” is a barnstorming Stones-y rock ‘n’ roll showpiece that you immediately envision as an arena encore, complete with an aging frontman whose hips gyrate at full-Jagger level. It is, therefore, neatly subversive and refreshing in that the eponymous Fannythe song’s lady museis Segall’s cute dog, rather than the played out honky-tonk women of old. A familiar twinge of Lennon leading The Beatles through “Girl” floats over Segall’s “Rain,” and the cover of “Every 1’s a Winner” by Hot Chocolate is surprisingly credible with a fantastic straight-ahead groove. Flashes of Neil Young appear on the swooning “You Say All the Nice Things,” while the girthsome chug of “She” is a safe haven for those who need their fix of gritty guitar wrangling.

As Segall sings “I’m free,” with harmonies weaving themselves around the chiming of acoustic guitars, it feels as though he is referring to his own self-assuredness as a songwriter of the highest quality. The sheer number of fist-pumping choruses and ecstatic moments of Freedom’s Goblin are like a stuffed suitcase that definitely won’t make it under the airline’s weight limit.

On paper an album of this size and scope shouldat the very leastbe occasionally frustrating and bloated. Freedom’s Goblin, however, is skillfully elevated by Segall’s constant sense of joy and inscrutable knack for penning genuine earworms. California’s prodigal son vaults every obstacle with the sort of effortlessness you might expect from an Olympian who eats chicken nuggets on the starting line, before smashing their own world records for fun. (www.ty-segall.com)

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10


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