From releasing at last count 18 solo albums, the countless other albums he’s released with Mikal Cronin and as a member of bands like Fuzz, Epsilons, Party Fowls, The Traditional Fools, The Perverts, and Sic Alps, and producing albums, such as White Fence’s excellent For the Recently Found Guilty, Ty Segall‘s influence and imprint are everywhere. With a resume this long and rich, you might think Segall is in late 30s or 40s. Instead, the native of Orange County, California is just 27 years old.
Essentially, every year, Segall is involved in at least two albums since 2007, and every single one has never disappointed, often among the best indie albums of the year. With his seventh studio album, the double LP Manipulator, Segall has released arguably his finest effort to date. And at 17 songs with a running time of over 55 minutes, Manipulator represents his longest album in his career.
Besides the number of songs and length of the album, what separates Manipulator from the rest of Segall’s previous albums is the attention to detail, which can be attributed to the hours on hours of meticulous work that Segall and producer Chris Woodhouse put into the album. Whereas in the past Segall has been known for producing a record in a couple of days, this time he spent a month putting the finishing touches on the record, living and breathing the album (literally, as he slept in an apartment above the studio during production). The result is a maniacal, brilliant, and rapturous record.
Despite it being 17 songs, the album is cohesive and unrelenting, as it gathers steam with each track. It has a bit of everything from Segall’s past efforts. It has fuzzed out guitars, ’60s psychedelic rock is well represented as always, stirring indie rock, anthemic numbers, and even touches of surf-rock and surf-pop. The opening three tracks span Segall’s discography – the psychedelic title track, “Manipulator”, the groovy trippy “Tall Man Skinny Lady”, and the slow, hypnotic “The Singer” that has Segall’s falsetto echo closely to John Lennon – and they set the tone. Back and forth the album goes, from the glorious psych number “Feel”, the Sloan-esque rocker “The Faker”, the psych-pop tune “The Clock” that closely resembles the approach of The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger, the groovy, ’60s-esque “The Connection Man”, and on and on it goes – one glorious track after another.
Manipulator isn’t just another record. It is an outstanding effort among the best of this year. It might represent Segall’s masterpiece and breakthrough, much like Radiohead’s OK Computer, which not coincidentally was released 20 years ago this week. But more importantly, it is a celebration of Segall’s history and mark on indie music.
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