Thoughts on Ty Segall’s Latest LP, “Sleeper”

I’m gonna stop apologizing for being absent on this a lot. I know it seems like I’m the deadbeat dad who never pays child support but shows up during the holidays to eat free grub and forget your name & presents, but in layman’s terms, I’ve got shit to do. Besides if anyone really wants consistency, then you can check out the Nashville Scene or No Country for New Nashville. Consequently, if you want banality as well, you’ll also be in the right place! However, bashing people is not why I’m writing this today (well, sort of, but I’ll get to that). I recently got a chance to hear Ty Segall’s new album, Sleeper and since I haven’t seen any real reviews about it, I figured I’d give my unsolicited two cents.

It’d be hard to deny that 2012 was the the year Ty Segall really exploded. He made and put out two great records (the Ty Segall Band one was a bit too indulgent for me, but the greatness of his other two projects more than sufficed for that deficiency) and was exposed to a wider national audience through his performances on Conan and David Letterman; let’s not forget that SPIN “magazine” also called him the next savior of rock, so he definitely had momentum behind him. So with this increasing popularity, “fame” and hype building up behind him, I really do admire what he decided to do next, which I kinda see as the equivalent of flipping the bird and blowing raspberries in some of his fans’ faces. Instead of making another fuzzed out record that’s laced with riffs and makes you want to burn down the house when you hear it, he abandoned his fuzz pedals over at Charlie Moothart’s place and almost went fully acoustic and riff-less for an entire album. And like I said, I admire him having the guts to say, at what could be his peak, “fuck making another rock ‘n’ roll solo album like that” and picking up an acoustic guitar.

However, it’s felt kind of obvious to me that he was trying to get his sea legs with this one. He isn’t fully comfortable with going completely acoustic. That’s why on some songs like “The Man Man” (my favorite track actually) and “Come Outside,” you can hear him sort of revert back to his comfort zone: fuzzed out guitar solos and pounding drums. It’s cliche to throw around the term “transition album” when an artist takes on a new direction, but that’s what this is. This is him taking the next step in his career to go where he wants to go. And as I’ve probably overstated already, I give him credit for that, but this album is definitely not his strongest. That issue might just take time and more work to get right, but if you know anything about him, Ty is anything but lazy. Hell, I’m willing to bet he probably has the sequel to this album already recorded. So we’ll just have to see what this all amounts to, but at the moment, he’s still working out the kinks.

P.S. Next time though, don’t title the album something that can be too easily utilized for bad reviews. For example, “Ty Segall’s new one is called Sleeper.…..well, at least he got the name right.” Just a thought, champ.

Sleeper – Ty Segall

The Man Man – Ty Segall

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