Ty Segall Manipulator LP cover - Monolith Cocktail review

Adoring if not uncharacteristically gushing in praise (for once), Sean Bw Parker looks like he’s found his favourite album of 2014 with Ty Segall‘s latest garage glam tour-de-force, Manipulator



Ty Segall   ‘Manipulator’   (Drag City)   Released 26th August 2014

Do you remember where you were when you first heard Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band? The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars? How about Parklife, or Definitely Maybe? Is This It? Right, you can tell I’m on IMPORTANT ALBUMS territory here – but there’s a crucial detail here: Manipulator stands head and shoulders above the lot of them, whilst apparently barely trying.

I was advised to do my research on San Francisco bay’s Ty Segall, as he’d been around a while. Indeed, in an era where hardly any act can manage past a lame first album, he has steadily released an album a year since 2007, allowing the lessons learnt and sound skills developed to seep into his blood and bones, to eventually coagulate into this…beast, Manipulator.

It’s phenomenally good. Fucking cracking, shit-hot, addictive, never to be lost smashes, every one. It’s almost good enough to make people buy it online. Such quips shouldn’t be here actually – my humour doesn’t stand up to the sheer integrity, craftsmanship, feeling, and pure love of the form contained in this hour of music.

So how can it possibly compare to those timeworn classics above? I mean, that stuff is really classic! I see the question mark above your head. Because 1. You can tell he fucking means it, Jack White or Jimi style, and 2. It’s packed full of inventiveness, madness, insane rhythms, psyche colour, raw sex, virtuosity, and tunes: Tunes falling over themselves to be heard, competing with the next in line like a queue of girls after a hockey match competing for the showers.

So what does it sound like? All the best bits of Tame Impala, Pond, The Jicks, The Beta Band, SFA, The Dandy Warhols, The White Stripes, Jack solo – all of these slushing around in a sandpit live studio, with simply the joy of sound, melody and rhythm buffeting them around. Where Mr. Segall triumphs though, is in his innate, self-trained discipline – he reels things in long before they become a bore, or anything close to it. Why don’t British artists seem to be able to do this anymore? Is this country so clogged by the coalition and branding? Like SA isn’t?

What Ty Segall has become on Manipulator is a postmodern magician to send his competitors scurrying – Coyne, Malkmus, Hansen, Rhys, Mason…brilliant as you are, there’s a new master in town, and he has rather raised the bar. My worthy paymasters at the Monolith Cocktail won’t be having with graded reviews – but if they did, this motherfucker would be off the scale. Play this album at full volume, on repeat, for a week. Then press repeat. Ok, go on then, one more.


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