On the record: Ty Segall – Freedom’s Goblin

BY Hudson Roe   /  26 January 2018

Irrespective of whether you read on and decide the album isn’t for you, put on “Every 1’s A Winner”. Ty Segall’s cover of the near perfect Hot Chocolate track, which itself is near perfect. Yes, it’s curious to have a garage rock version of the soul classic, sharing the original’s fuzzy guitar and all, but it’s irresistible fun. Given it’s good and familiar, expect it to land on an advert for a mid-range car soon.

Freedom’s Goblin is a pick’n’mix of an album, genres smashed against each other. “Stomper, weeper, ballad, screamer, banger or funker-upper”, that’s the many different sounds to expect according to the note accompanying Ty Segall’s eleventh album. The note also highlights ‘multiple Tydentities” (note the capitalisation) – a byword for ‘we’ve put lots of different sounding songs on this album’.

At first, you imagine this has been over thought. But after several listens, you realise that the record doesn’t have an overarching, consistent sound or purpose. For some, that’ll be a joy and it’ll be familiar to anyone who is a fan of Segall’s other records.

The album takes you on quite a journey. In three tracks you move from the sleazy funk of “Despoiler of Cadaver” to the garage-rock of “When Mommy Kills You”, to the folksiness of “My Lady’s On Fire” (The unexpected saxophone-solo outro on the track is a real treat). The issue, as with any album that skips genres like this is that there are undoubtedly tracks which are forgettable, and just not very good. “Rain” for example, presumably unintentionally, sounds like Muse really trying to sound like Pablo Honey-era Radiohead.

On top of that, Freedom’s Goblin is long. Too long. It seems concision isn’t Mr Segall’s strong point. Given this is his eleventh album in as many years, he’s more prolific even than the famously productive Rihanna.

Take your pick as, at times, the album is great. But ultimately Freedom’s Goblin is too long and a sense of focus would do it the world of good. But do, please, listen to that Hot Chocolate cover.

Available online here.