Album Review: Ty Segall – Manipulator

ty_segall_manipulatorAt summer’s unofficial close, Drag City cranked out yet another Ty Segall album, Manipulator. Since 2008, Segall has stayed monumentally busy, pushing out at least one album per year. And what’s even more impressive is that each album is a distinguishing example that Segall knows how to deliver rock and roll from more than one perspective. Manipulator is an aesthetic reinvention of consistent musical talent from Segall.

By today’s standards, glam rock has become a lost term that has been worn thin by the likes of bedazzled super star pop singers whom gain more popularity with costume shock factor than musical talent. Society is jaded by androgyny as the vast population of cool kids tend to land dead center on the Kinsey Scale. Flamboyant behavior is a culturally relevant term that is continually being redefined, and the music scene often finds itself at the fore of the conversation. Ty Segall’s latest masterpiece, Manipulator, mimics glam rock back to its roots alongside the obvious choices such as T. Rex and David Bowie. The entire span of the 17 track album reeks of Raw Power influence with face melting guitar riffs that Segull doesn’t shy away from in its entirety.

However, Segall’s love affair with the creative influences of the glam rock era are largely heard rather than seen. The intro to “The Hand” is reminiscent of the same acoustic-meets-electric styling as Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream.” Tactful as he is talented, Segall doesn’t try to overshadow his talent with spandex body suits or massive amounts of blow, but rather pays homage to the glam forefathers from time to time in the form of silver lipstick and a hint of face paint scattered under his eyes for a perfect aesthetic detail.

The track name alone, “Tall Man Skinny Lady”elicits a sexual innuendo that’s reminiscent of his old friends from who dabbled so often with the idea of homosexual escapades within their songs (Walk on the Wild Side immediately comes to mind).  But like all solo male artists, Segall can’t help but croon over some lady problems and “Susie Thumb” sums that all up. “Susie wants to be on all the TVs/ Sitting in the screen, she waits for you and me.”

Bottling Manipulator into a single genre wouldn’t be fair. “The Clock”andThe Singer”channel Lou Reed in the same way that “Susie Thumb” and “The Crawler” mimic Mott The Hoople. But it really doesn’t matter which direction Segall leans because he shreds to the likes of each rock subgenre. With a staggering 17 track play list, Segall has plenty of room to embed a concoction of rock angles while still maintaining a cohesive and deliberate album. This album works overtime to produce some gut-busting anthems that showcase Segall’s ability to ooze rock ‘n’ roll. It comes as no surprise that Segall dedicated considerably more time to this album than any of his others. Not only is the play list twice as long, but there’s a coherent and articulate pace that other albums have lacked.

Segall has never strayed from his rocker ways but rather develops them from album to album. Manipulator is perhaps the best example as it’s the first album to stray away from the garage rock reverb almost completely. He’s slowed his pace and defined his sound from organized chaos heard on Melted and the fuzzy distorted vocals on his debut and self-titled album release.

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