Music Reviews

Ty Segall & White Fence Hair

(Drag City) Buy it from Insound Rating - 7/10

In the press prior to the release of Hair, Ty Segall was clear to make sure this project was taken on its own merits, as neither a follow up to either artists’ previous work. Ty Segall & White Fence would be an on-going song-writing collaboration between himself and Tim Presley (from White Fence), each bringing their own songs to the record(s) as well as concoctions from their collective cache. It’s an amalgamation of sounds and spirits that emanate from the annuls of rock and roll history, citing influences from The Kinks’ underground simplicity; Syd Barrett style expressionism and The Beatles’ psychedelia. This, combined with Ty Segall’s garage rock balladry and Tim Presley’s waning vocal produce something a little reminiscent; a little familiar in the way it hallucinates, but something creatively prolific as well.

Clearly, you aren’t going to be able to get comfortable. Time opens like a schizophrenic maniac on anti-depressants, meditatively summoning the track with its prolonged one, two, three, four – then a chunky riff crashes through the tension, before returning and crashing again and, then, the song begins with stoner rhythm, acoustic guitar and nurdling electric lead. ‘It’s alright, we are stoned, and you know it takes, time,’ and here you are ready for the high yourself before you get assaulted with a cataclysmic riff that will blow you out of your mind.

You descend or rather, ascend, out of the psychosomatic into equally distorted conceptions of the syncopated rhythm of I Am Not A Game. The timings change with infinite proficiency, the guitars are unconstrained and wild, eventually, and at its conclusion your original perception of the song is grossly understated. Beneath the vast umbrella of rock, Ty Segall & White Fence have decided to plant their flag in the centre of its shadowed majesty. They sit at the core of the form as, pretty much, straight up rock and roll – no extraneous genre adornments needed. That said, this is neither predictable nor lacking in originality, they have remarkably found a further contortion of 60’s and 70’s inspired guitar music.

It’s as much a sort of off-slant pop with acid licks, stammering riffs and corrosive quirks that infuse energy with relentless enthusiasm. When The Black Glove/Rag breaks down into rambling utterances, beneath said licks, you feel freedom in the fact that no matter where the music goes (and you really have no idea where) it is constantly innovative and irrepressibly ripe. (I Can’t) Get Around You sounds so like a Beatles track that I initially thought it must have been a cover, but, I think it surpasses that comparison because it melts into the sound of the record which they have created and you almost expect these kind of elemental works of genius, on every track.

From they’re greatest pop moment to the brash, volcanic and demented Scissor People, Ty Segall & White Fence cannot be second guessed. They’re sound can explode into scorching crescendos and implode, just as frequently, into fuzz and guts. The guitars serve to cremate and create in equal measure, decimating passages but always adding to the wall of beautiful, putrid noise. This was never meant to be a one-off just to see what could happen; this is two artists combining influences, ideas and idioms; expressing together, something greater than their individual talents. The seeds of their growth are quite clearly intertwined in the past and they have taken the remnants of those movements which they admire the most and remoulded a form of rock and roll to their own imaginings. It takes, as we say in England, bollocks to be innovative and push the boundaries of music to challenge peoples’ perception but what is required to create a record which is grown from the compost of the past and still remain original is something close; perhaps not quite; not entirely; but nearly, genius.