Ty Segall is like Neil Young. Possessed by wayward creativity, he’s not only the author of his own narrative but the editor too. As a result, this artist’s work is sprawling, tangled and taking anything but the predictable turn.
There’s an erratic magnetism. Thoughts about Segall’s future are never easy to pin down. The fact listeners received stars ‘n’ bars freedom rock last time round doesn’t offer much assurance of comes next.
He takes leaps. Rarely does he stumble but he still does make the occasional gaff or head scratching move. But then we’re all prone to indulgence, it’s human nature. Many an artist’s true challenge isn’t working to hone ability but contain impulse and curiosity just enough to put something universal across. It's why collaboration can be good for the likes of Ty. Providing that is he can find another mind with which to hit it off.
Here he does. White Fence’s Tim Presley shares a similarly wayward oddness but there’s a definite and stronger streak of classicism to his work. His albums evoke psychedelic pop, Nuggets style garage and noise oddities hidden in the far past. He tends to be a little more concise.
But this shouldn’t be taken to suggest that after again working with Segall after 2012's Hair Presley is reigning Ty in. Joy comes very much painted form the mind of two eccentrics. Here the pair trade fantasy, throwing one absurdist stunt after another to see what sticks. It all does, which is what makes Joy so off of the wall.
For the most part, it does pack Segall’s free-wheeling rock bound for ragged glory. But there’s also dark surrealism, a split second of lounging jazz, irreverent Ogdens’ Nut style passages as well as noise scrapers like ‘Other Way’ and ‘Do You Hair’.
Fans of Segall’s most recent albums might find familiar comfort. Those coming to Ty through White Fence’s more understated moments may find it a little transformative, Tim’s definitely taken in Segall’s more imperious and bombastic flair. He’s projecting on a larger scale.
It sounds like both have had a lot of fun, but still, they’ve been bashing it all out along a twisted internal logic. This is a start-to-finish record. It plays well before ‘Tommy’s Place’ sends it spiralling into a colossal weird-out, magnificent in its scattered blare. Naturally, it leaves off with a warming ballad.
15 tracks in all, Joy demands interrogation. It beckons the listener for a further venture into its scattered sound then once back quietly suggests that this duo share a tangled output within which it all hangs together that also stands for investigation. But before you leave off for it just know it's an arrangement which serves these outsiders as well. At a first pass, Joy makes obvious that it’s a record that any who buy into the deal will only continue to treasure.
Words by Riley Fitzgerald