Live in Portland October 6, 2018 | Revolution Hall
The legendary duo, Ty Segall and White Fence (who collaborated on 2012’s Hair), are back with a refreshing punch in the face–new album Joy–which is precisely what psych rock fans will be feeling on the album’s release day.
Segall and White Fence (aka Tim Presley) both stem from the California garage rock scene, growing up listening to ‘70s psych and obsessing over music through a youthful teen gaze. Joy elicits a nostalgic dream, falling down the rabbit hole into an age of technicolor and psychedelic sweats.
“Beginning” kicks off the album with muffled sounds, diving feet-first into dizzying reverse reverb vocals–taking a turn with stunning displays of tempo change after tempo change. From here, the noise steps off into the low-tempo harmonic ballad “Please Don’t Leave This Town.”
Just wait. There’s more. The entire album is an emotional roller coaster ride: shifting delicately from calm folky guitar interludes to spastic, chaotic walls of sound, to experimental squeaks and barks.
“Good Boy” and “Hey Joel, Where You Going With That” roll out fluidly like acid on the tongue, dripping with ‘70s undertones; in moments, Segall and Presley may truly be possessed by ghosts of Lennon and Hendrix: they sing “Hey Joel…” containing lyrics “Yellow Sandwich Submarine” with a song title channeling Hendrix lyric, “Hey Joe, where you goin’ with that gun of yours?”
Surely, this is no accident. Segall and Presley bleed psych rock with influence from the best. While the remnants of a beautiful past sit inside star-gazy lyrics, fuzzy guitar tones and trippy vocal schemes, this is not a copy and paste, but rather a collage of brilliant color, forming an entirely new and bizarre image.
Surreal and full of mysticism, Segall and Presley toy with simple words to portray a hazy state of being and a fond affection for those around them: “He’s a good boy/she’s a good boy/we are good boys now. He’s a good girl/she’s a good girl/We have always been. We are people now.”
Striking, wacky, almost comical, this whimsy is followed by tracks that prod at the listener’s brain with juxtaposition, showcasing 30 seconds of manic, screeching flutes, slowing into docile guitar tracks, into more jarring bricks of ear-blistering fuzz tone.
Joy is a beautiful rendition of life: a past, present and future. It twists and turns, warps and flails, and drives hard and soft into the listener’s guts. Joy is the wild ride that everyone has been on, and never thought to listen for.