Music Reviews

Ty Segall Band Slaughterhouse

(In The Red) Rating - 9/10

In this age of instant gratification and immediate access to almost anything you want, it can be highly frustrating to hear very little from the artist themselves. He releases records more often than he updates his official website blog, FACT; but (I imagine) when you resolve to release three albums in a year you’re fairly busy.

Actually though, for Ty Segall, this could be considered somewhat of reduction in workload. During his earlier years he was releasing up to nine records in a single annual smattering. So what do we want from our favourite artists? Would we not prefer them to release three albums a year if it meant hardly ever hearing from them? Well I guess that depends on the quality of the record.

Despite being involved with over twenty albums since 2008 Ty Segall has actually never recorded with his touring band, marking this as somewhat of a debut for this cluster of musicians. In comparison with his previous release this year (Hair) which was a collaborative effort with White Fence, well, there really is no comparison. He is the lead influence upon both albums yet they are drastically polarized, in garage terms anyway. The retro-garage sound of Hair holds barely a hint of familiarity with the sound of Slaughterhouse.

He exposes a faint regard for melody on the four-and-a-half minute trio of Mary Ann, Muscle Man and Slaughterhouse but rather tends to abandon this as a principal, something which some may find frustrating. You find a further lean towards such a sound on I Bought My Eyes but what actually develops is a more linear and direct approach that clings on to as many punk aesthetics as possible. Don’t confuse him for the kind of artist that is ever going to resort to garage-pop songs that do nothing to challenge the listener. He, and more specifically, the Ty Segall Band have an irrepressible penchant for blistering riffs covered with scorching fuzz and droning deviations. They couldn’t give a fuck what you prefer or expect.

If Hair was anything, it was understated, at least beside Slaughterhouse it appears so. The intensity of Death, with its breakdown inducing intro of screeching insanity is more typical of what Slaughterhouse offers. There is a staccato punk-power-chord thud beneath a parallel melody and detonations of vibrato. Follow that with Diddy Wah Diddy, a contortional riot that practically destroys itself with overdrive and you may begin to understand the record. Fuzz War is an instrumental from the ilk of Death’s inception but is much more exploratory in its depth. It becomes an experiment in unearthly sounds that scratch at the senses with an unerring freedom. As an atmosphere it is as oppressive and uncomfortable as it is interesting. During the ten minute psychedelic barrage you can hardly collate a single thought that resembles any sense and become a decimated intelligence yet you’re strangely compelled to listen on.

Ty Segall lends himself to so many projects as both an instigator and collaborative fixture, so to experience him; his kind of enthralling guitar mess and the antagonistic exuberance that his music magnetizes, is truly electrifying. His presence is a magnificently understated one as simply a member of this band. It’s true that this is his band, but never is there a sense that you could divide the two as an influence upon the record. They seems utterly inspired within an environment where there are seemingly no agendas. Songs reverberate out of relentless feedback, their forms never hold any oppressive distinction and what is truly liberating is that you get to experience a band that has experimented on record. You get a tangible sense of the sessions of Slaughterhouse, and the values which draws these four musicians together. It isn’t to craft and hone an impregnable set of tracks with a polished sheen; it’s to crash out a cacophony of garage riffs into empowering, disconcerting and exciting noise.

Segall managed to sum up the record perfectly at the end of Wave Goodbye, amid the feedback of bowel churning rhythms and Sabbath-like guitars comes a flailing scream of; ‘Fuck. Yeah!’ Precisely.