Perhaps they should have got someone who knows about Ty Segall to write about 'First Taste', but no, it's me. Lead single 'Taste' sounds like what I think Segall sounds like, catchy fuzzy guitars accompanied by catchy fuzzy vocals. The album even features some dual drumming with Mr. Segall bashing away on one of the drums. Very enticing!
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Like so many Norman Records reviews, this one starts with a confession. I’ve never listened to a Ty Segall album before. And if things had turned out differently I probably wouldn’t have heard this one either, but unfortunately our offices expert in Segallism was otherwise occupied. So if you’re looking for incisive analysis about how someone approaches their 25th album (according to our good friends at discogs) please, look away. But if you’re looking for someone’s ‘First Taste’…
To start with, at a consumer level, this record is not good to listen to. It sounds… bad. The split channel drumming on ‘Taste’ is tinny and dizzying, and the general fuzz just sounds a bit crap. I’m not an audiophile, I’m a philistine who probably spends as much time listening to music out of his phone’s speakers as not. But wow, my ears are sad.
Musically though, this is more or less what I expected. Full throttle scuzzy garage rock played with the confidence you’d expect from Guided By Voices and Parquet Courts. And yes, this means some of the songs can shine through the production, particularly the mandolin featuring ‘Lone Cowboys’ and ‘The Arms’.
The best songs, though, are the ones when Segall gives himself a bit more freedom. ‘Ice Plant’ is a surprisingly moving a capella cut, and ‘When I Met My Parents Pt. 3’ lurches towards the door marked “cosmic disco”. What ‘First Taste’ sounds like is a musician constrained by a ludicrously large back catalogue of expectation. I hope he finds the confidence to drop the garage rock form, and at the very least its sounds.
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