ALBUM REVIEW: Ty Segall Band – Slaughterhouse
Does the Ty Segall Band feel they are being slain for consumption? Considering they are one of the hardest working names in music, who could blame them? The latest LP, Slaughterhouse, preceded by a masterful collaborative effort with Tim Presley’s enchanting psych-folk White Fence, the commitment to a full length album in the fall, and religious touring may suggest it was due time for Segall to let loose and shed another of his garage rock skins. At the height of his immaculate career the ‘Cisco Kid shows no signs of letting up or slowing down. Many before him have been quick to abandon their punk rock roots in the name of opportunity but Segall’s milk and honey truly is the music. Just to remind us, he went In Utero with Slaughterhouse.
The vibrations are haunting and insidious, invoking classic heavy metal spirits. Segall trades his most prolific songwriting to date, and sometimes syntax altogether, for primitive free expressions of doom-laden cosmic meandering. Where 2011’s Goodbye Bread conjures the sun-dazed sounds of a forever stoned southern Cali oasis, Slaughterhouse abandons all logical expectations of the band’s direction and plunges into the frigid depths of the unknown in what Segall himself has coined, “evil space-rock.” It is a mesmerizing, 40-minute journey into the bottomless never-ending creative abyss that is Ty Segall. Those who venture in are coaxed into the darkness past his familiar west-coast fuzz, bouncy rhythm section and uncanny Lennon-esque melodies.
In true Jay Reatard fashion, Segall pays homage to the greats yet manages to reinvent himself once again. In the wonderfully inarticulate Fred Neil jam “That’s the Bag I’m In,” Segall ironically omits the verse that speaks volumes about his dark release and reputation for never creating the same album twice:
Jukebox playing the same old melody
Keep on bringing back those blue memories
This evil feeling’s gonna be the death of me
I think I’m going out of my mind.
The incestuous nature of the ‘Cisco garage rock scene has proven more than beneficial for Ty Segall and his counterparts. In exchanging bands, instruments, and roles they selflessly lend mind, body, and soul to outside projects. Surprisingly enough, Slaughterhouse is the first album the band as a whole has recorded. Whether in Sic Alps, The Moonhearts, or The Hair, these pals are out for blood, booze, and a hell of a good show. The past few years they have been unavoidable, collectively catapulting an entire genre back to the forefront of great contemporary music. A sound that was thought to have been buried with The Mummies has been bidding its time just circling the San Francisco bay. Those who watch on, those who can’t look away are just asking for Slaughterhouse to rip their expectations into shreds like a reverse shark attack.
Segall began sampling pieces from Slaughterhouse while on tour with friends White Fence in promotion of their Record Store Day release Hair. The most innovative excerpt lent to fans during an Atlanta visit was “Wave Goodbye.” The song summons all of Segall’s impressive discography yet it is twisted and inherently evil with the catatonic paranoia of an acid trip gone awry. Sure enough, the audience looks up and Segall appears to be coherent and trustworthy enough to lead the way through his psychedelic fun house. Before coasting over the edge of his psyche into oblivion he turns and taunts the crowd eerie and deranged, in the pitch of a demonic child he whines, “bye-bye”! The spooky reverb chants as chaos ensues by way of frenzied insomniac guitars. The onlookers must ride out the wave or wipe out in the white wash of grinding fuzz and hysteria. Segall’s announcement does not simply acknowledge the passing of Goodbye Bread but it stirs a cult-like curiosity in his listeners that proves irresistible and just like that, Ty Segall ensures all will follow like lambs to the slaughter.