His latest album, produced by the legendary Steve Albini, offers 19 tracks – all wide ranging and unreserved; it’s a summary of Segall’s career in the last ten years. This is a bold move, especially in music today. You don’t hear artists releasing double LP albums that blends various genres similar to the Beatles White Album (1968) or The Clash’s London Calling (1979). On Freedom’s Goblin, you hear elements of music that is reminiscent to standards of classic rock (The Beatles, T-Rex, Todd Rundgren) and Segall’s contemporaries (Ohh Sees, Black Lips, Jack White). It’s a great album for newcomers—the variety and intensity keeps you listening. Its like experiencing the Kinks for the first time through their Kink Kronikles (1972) compilation—so much at once. It’s not as much peculiar psychedelic nightmares recorded from the underground, with scary album covers like his previous albums. It’s the heavy rock n’ roll Segall brings from time-to-time with some loose psychedelic pop clashing against fuzz guitars. Segall is free and all over the place and lost at his own supermarket on his new release.
Freedom’s Goblin opens with Segall going full Ryan Adams. “Fanny Dog”—a number dedicated to Segall’s dog, is full of hard-hitting semi-orchestrated instrumentals and slithering 3Ds-esque guitar riffs. The chorus is unforgettable as Segall declares how his dog sticks around. What’s so witty and clever, but also sort of disturbing about these lyrics if that you need to know that Segall has a dog named Fanny. If not, you might think he’s singing about something else with lyrics like “She knows just how to come” or “My Fanny goes on down.” Let’s just get our minds out of the gutter—like stated before, its simply just about his dog.
“Rain” by its title alone, is a gentle Beatles tribute song. Segall lets out his inner John Lennon, reflecting Lennon’s vocals from “Strawberry Fields Forever.” Sadly, this is the song that gets your mother listening by the door, asking “What Beatles song is that?” The Beatles vibe shouldn’t take anything from this as this is one of the most alluring and beautiful songs Segall has recorded. Segall covers the seventies disco classic, “Every 1’s a Winner,” originally by Hot Chocolate. Here, Segall flirts with a more glam rock style, with an overly aggressive heavy Beck riff, which is of most importance. On “Despoiler of Cadaver,” Segall dives into a synth void and even becomes a bit Right Said Fred too sexy, especially when singing – “I want to whisper in your ear and give you everything.” This could’ve been a whirling disco dance floor hit in the seventies or played in a late nineties nightclub—a great followup funk number and one of the best off the new LP.
“When Mommy Kills You,” is a classic Segall track, with again, a feeling of the Beatles, mostly from the background vocals. Even Yoko sounds like she could’ve been the overdubbing high pitched voices at the end. You can tell Segall is a big fan of Chris Bell and Big Star, on “My Lady’s on Fire.” Segall gets tender (“Alta,” “Cry Cry Cry,” “I’m Free”) and you can feel how profound his singing is. “Alta” is an environmental song, set in California – reminiscent of something the Beach Boys would have released from their 1970-1973 period. “Meaning,” could’ve been a new Jack White single for Boarding House Reach, but after the opening, it turns into this sprawling punk tune, with Segall’s wife Denée providing some intense vocals.
“Shoot You Up,” is just as rebellious and heavy as The Clash’s “Guns of Brixton,” but Segall’s tone isn’t as pushy and intimidating as the instrumentals. The highlight, “You Say All The Nice Things,” is a lost T-Rex Slider (1972) take. “The Last Waltz” certainly sounds like its title with its word painting around the instrumentals, which also shows influence of “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!” by the Beatles. Typical blurred guitars from Segall, make their return on “She,” with Segall going heavy metal on vocals. The Wowee Zowee sections consists of “Prison,” – a goofy wild comedic instrumental transitional piece to the squalling saxophone and guitar boogie of “Talkin 3,”—where Segall screams the entire time and “The Main Pretender.” “5 Ft. Tall” is the catchiest number off the album and it includes a riff which could have been from one of the Nuggets compilations. The closing track, “And, Goodnight” is an 11 minute experimental trip, where it sounds as live as Neil Young’s Live Rust (1979). It’s an electronic jam of the title track to his psych-folk driven album Sleeper back in 2013. The featured guitar solo seems never ending and when it finally does end, you want more. It’s like when waking up from a dream when reaching the climax. Luckily, Segall is pretty fast with releasing new music, so lets hope for some more freakish dreams.
Segall, along with other artists such as Ron Gallo, are going backward in music and trying to give light on a genre that has been declared “dead” and irrelevant to today’s music standards. On an independent label such as Drag City, artists have the freedom to bring back or experiment with the music, in which they desire. On Freedom’s Goblin, Segall has established himself as a free musician, in celebration to the second garage rock revival, in which he conquered through his excellent taste of fuzzy guitars and melodic sensibility.
Classic Tracks – “Rain,” “Every 1’s a Winner,” “Despoiler of Cadaver,” “My Lady’s on Fire” and “Talkin 3”
Ehh – “Cry Cry Cry,” “Shoot You Up” and “She”
You can listen to Ty Segall’s Freedom’s Goblin below.