The Californian garage king's T Rex covers album shows his melodic muscle
Ty Segall and Marc Bolan share a similar style of pop perversion. Their songwriting favours fantastical imagery, gliding hooks that suddenly spring up in pitch and an element of repetition that makes their music no less enjoyable. And despite drawing inspiration from a variety of genres, both are often unfairly lumped under one category (‘glam’ in Bolan’s case, ‘garage’ in Segall’s).
‘Ty Rex’ is a set of Bolan covers by Segall that brings together two out-of-print Record Store Day releases, a 12-inch from 2011 and a seven-inch from 2013, with the addition of a previously unreleased take on ’20th Century Boy’ – a gritty rendition that darts along with hardcore intensity. The collection mixes the psychedelic folk era of Tyrannosaurus Rex with the electrified sound of T. Rex post-1970 but without any of its sheen. This is lo-fi, loose and bubbling with a first-take immediacy.
The 28-year-old Segall has never been shy about signposting his influences and the selections here, while hardly representing Bolan’s greatest hits, are telling. Both the verse (and mid-song detour) of ‘Elemental Child’ and the chorus to ‘First Heart Mighty Dawn Dart’ instantly scream Segall. In fact if ‘The Motivator’ had appeared on ‘Gemini’, a collection of demos Segall put out in 2013, it would have fitted in seamlessly. Perhaps it’s because Bolan and Segall, at their best, make infectious harmonies seem so easy.
The last time Goner Records released a Ty Segall compilation, ‘Singles 2007 – 2010’, it gathered stripped-down versions of already lean fuzz-pop, banged out at blistering pace. In that sense, ‘Ty Rex’ feels like a throwback to the early stages of the Californian’s output while at the same time, underlining his development over the last few years. By contrast, Segall’s last few projects – such as last year’s ‘Manipulator’ and his work with hard-riffing side-project Fuzz – are worlds away in terms of execution.
Still, the strength of ‘Singles’ was its ability to win over new fans while rewarding older ones. Although ‘Ty Rex’ is unlikely to have the same effect, it works well as a fun stop-gap before Segall’s next solo effort, ‘Emotional Mugger’, arrives in January.
Director: Ty Segall
Record label: Goner
Release date: 27 Nov, 2015