Ty Segall is a hard artist to keep up with. Just as you’re memorizing track orders on the newest album he’s already released a new one, either under his own name or with any one of his many side projects/collaborations. I’m not complaining(okay, maybe I am), but it’s as if he can’t stop and soak in the accolades and accomplishments long enough for the tubes in his amp to cool down.
It took me a few years to find my way to Segall. From 2009 to 2013 it seemed he was putting out albums as if his life depended on it. It was too hard to digest the musical meal Segall had cooked up. But then Manipulator was released in 2014 and it all began to make sense. The Bowie-meets-T.Rex vibes were just what I needed. Then his power-trio Fuzz also hit the spot. Early Grand Funk plus Blue Cheer with a side of Stooges.
Okay, this Cali garage rock kid broke through to me. I was in.
From 2016 on it’s been a steady flow of outsider fuzz. In 2019 Segall released First Taste which changed up his typical fuzzed-out garage rock in place of an almost robotic, weirdo funk. His latest, Harmonizer, continues that vibe with more nighttime vibes and even, dare I say, sexy grooves. It took a few listens, but it’s growing on me. Like a fine, psychedelic wine.
First few listens with Harmonizer and I was kind of lost. Everything feels a little topsy-turvy. Like the tape machine is about to break mid-riff. Segall is jumping into the synth world full bore here. The opening track “Learning” sounds like Gary Wright recording while woozy on Nyquil. But soon enough “Whisper” rolls in with Segall engaging those fuzz boxes we’ve come to know and love. “Erased” sounds like doom metal created in a circuit box located in space.
Segall has turned his voice into a versatile instrument over the years. His work on the Freedom Band album proved that with a truly soulful turn, ala Sly Stone. Here he puts the vocals front and center and it works very well.
A few times through Harmonizer and it starts to come together. The vibe, the grooves, the coming together of synths and fuzz, and of course those sexy undertones. One song that knocked me out was “Feel Good” the collaboration with Ty’s wife Denée Segall. Frenetic rhythm, fuzzy bass line, the guitar riff, and Denée’s come hither vocals make this track an absolute banger.
From title track “Harmonizer” to the synth wobble of “Ride”(think Gary Numan-meets-Sean Ono Lennon) to the robo stomp of album closer “Changing Contours” Segall wastes no time. Harmonizer is another killer set of fuzz-drenched tracks that add a healthy dose of synth groove to make them slightly mechanical. In the best way possible.
8.5 out of 10