Wednesday, June 29

Record Review: Ty Segall [Goodbye Bread, Drag City]

By Jennifer Graciano
We know very well that Ty Segall is able to turn out a perfectly commercial scuzzy pop track thanks to the San Francisco psych rocker’s Melted. What we didn’t know was that he can also make some impassioned tunes without recording tricks that skew vocals and distort licks into unrecognizable sounds, and make them enjoyable all the same. Segall tries his hand at fresh sounding cuts and gradual tempos that give him a calmer feel than what we've heard from him in the past. At this point in his career, Ty Segall has settled into the singer-songwriter title comfortably without letting go of the psych garage rock his longtime fans expect.

The title track may give you whiplash as you check to see if this is really Segall’s doing: clear vocals and unhurried sounds. This is the standard throughout Goodbye Bread; for once, Ty Segall delivers crystal clear jams. “California Commercial” is almost half-hazard in its composition, as if it were improvised at first until speedy guitar lines tie it all together for an end for a short burst at just over a minute long. “Comfortable Home..” is similar in its setup, sounding more like a jam session than a structured song keeps Segall’s garage rock roots alive and well. Goodbye Bread as a whole plays a lot with tempos as they go up, down and all around, in a short span of time.

“You Make The Sun Fry” is the most like his previous efforts with its muddled vocals and playful songwriting. But it stagnates, a minute in and you’ll be left wondering where this song is going. “I Can’t Feel It” exemplifies that Goodbye Bread is moody, but nowhere near sullen as there’s some pretty heavy songwriting throughout the album, but you’re not prone to shed a tear for Segall’s narration. Like “You Make The Sun Fry”, “I Am With You” feels like it goes nowhere at first with Segall’s flat vocals and light strumming. Here vocals pick up quickly, strumming kicks into overdrive and a gruff anger takes over to even out the two extremes as “I Am With You” evolves into an almost indignant piece.

From the album opener, Goodbye Bread has a pretty standard layout. It’s easy to make the mistake of thinking Ty Segall’s latest is simple, Goodbye Bread is anything but. This album shows a skill Segall has shown glimmers of before, but never in this fashion. His craft has been fine-tuned from its once ramshackle (yet pleasurable) state. It’s exciting to see him take a route where his talent is spotlighted without a flurry of noise surrounding it all. And that’s where Goodbye Bread stands out from his grand catalog: its emotive sounds which aren’t hidden behind the crackling fuzz we’re used to from Segall. It’s no grand feat, Goodbye Bread isn’t a testament to genius guitar licks or pristine vocals, but what it lacks in perfection is made up in Segall’s delivery and a clear sense of self within the music.

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