For the busiest artist in the music industry, Ty Segall has come forth with his finest and slickest collection of songs to date. Freedom’s Goblin is every bit as impressive and finely-honed as Segall’s decade-long career.
The life and times of garage-rock kingpin Ty Segall have brought the self-made, one-man show to the forefront of indie rock. As each year passes, Segall’s work seems to only become bigger and bolder. On his second self-titled full length album — and one of last year’s most underrated LPs — Ty Segall, he sounded more energetic and focused than ever before. Now nearly a year later, the world is graced with his lengthiest and most ambitious work to date, Freedom’s Goblin.
Recorded over the course of nearly fourteen months, between five studios — and with a little help from indie-rock production-wizard Steve Albini — Freedom’s Goblin goes above and beyond any course that Segall’s predecessors have taken, both conceptually and instrumentally. Freedom’s Goblin is a kaleidoscopic mess, brilliant and sloppy all at once. This is a good thing — the tortured genius of nearly mythological status lays all he has to offer out on the table, and the end result is one of guitar-rock’s finest achievements in the 21st century.
Billowing with artistry and a relentless eye for production, Freedom’s Goblin acts as both a Ty Segall greatest hits, as well as a compilation of the bloody madness Segall has surrounded himself with for the better portion of the past decade. Whether it’s the bombastic — if not anthemic — opening riffs of “Fanny Dog” (a track dedicated to his dog, Fanny) or that classic, worn-down tone of Segall’s guitar on “Every 1’s a Winner,” Segall’s presence erupts at once, appropriately placing himself all over the genre-map.
This isn’t to say that Segall’s slow ballads are absent — there are plenty of those. These can be found on tracks like “My Lady’s On Fire,” as well as the country-swaggering “Cry Cry Cry.” However, the fuzz never gives up. Both longtime fans of Segall as well as newcomers will be more than satisfied with the end result of Freedom’s Goblin. It’s a mid-career landmark, a justification of Segall’s position and power in the indie-rock world.
We then find Segall exploring some seriously uncharted territory. Within the mix of fuzzy, gut-rot guitar blasts and the usual suspects of half-joking, acoustic love ballads, Segall finds himself in a completely alternate universe. “Despoiler of Cadaver” sounds like both a tribute to the late William Onyeabor as well as a missing B-side to Ween’s Chocolate and Cheese. It’s Segall at his grooviest, slick and snazzy, exploring some potential future terrain.
Whereas songs like “Meaning” reminisce of Segalls early, scuzzed-out punk rock days — and also features his wife, Denee, on vocals — the stylistic juxtaposition of both early Segall as well as Fuzz-era Segall integrate and morph into some of his finest work to date. Segall is a master of his craft, a renaissance man of sound and vibrations. His identity is solidified all across Freedom's Goblin, and all of it’s nineteen track-long glory.
Although it may seem quite sporadic at first listen, the end result justifies just how prolific Ty Segall really is. He’s a living legend, an embodiment of the modern day rockstar (if such a thing exists). Along with the help of his session-artist buddies, Ty Segall has rebirthed himself on an album of both biblical proportions and grand artistry. Segall’s voice has never sounded so necessary.