10 Jan 2015
Ty Segall "Mr. Face"
Reviewed by Nathan Ford
After a relatively restrained year in 2014, Ty Segall appears to have reverted back to type - type in his case being diverse and prolific. With a live Ty Segall Band album on the way too, his first release of the year is the four track 7"/digital E.P "Mr. Face".
There's an unwritten rule that the E.P is the given outlet for material whose quality demands release, but doesn't quite fit with the feel of the current album. And true to form, "Mr Face" is not the glitter-faced glam-rock of the Ty Segall that released last year's career best "Manipulator". Truth be told, stylistically it's a bit of a step backwards, but it does see Segall doing what he does best; writing hooky songs in a classic rock context, with effortlessly huge choruses carried by his buoyant falsetto.
Again, acoustic guitars form the backbone of the majority of the material here, often fulfilling as much of a percussive role as the sometimes sparse drumming. Unrestrained guitar (and piccolo?!) solos cap off most tracks nicely. And the songs themselves have more of a classic sixties garage pop hue to them than we've heard from Segall in quite some time. In many ways this feels like a companion piece to the fabulous White Fence LP that Segall produced last year, rather than sharing an affinity with any of his own recent work. This is particularly apparent on the excellent "Circles" which opens up with a frenetic Keith Moon style drum solo before being eclipsed by a manic guitar riff which doesn't let up for the whole track. And melancholy closer "The Picture" is a mid tempo gem. Built around a lovely, circular guitar pattern, it sounds like a lost, era-defining classic snatched out of its own time.
Being such a big fan of "Manipulator", I'm surprised I'm as taken by this departure as I am. There's no denying that Segall's ear for a good tune is building to a level of almost peerless consistency, and despite "Mr. Face"s reasonably lofi nature, his means of communicating these tunes directly to the listener has never been more direct, or more appropriately in service to the song.
"Mr. Face" can be pre-ordered here, with a stream of the title track.