http://wonomagazine.blogspot.nl/2013/01/twins-ty-segall.html). Twins, and previous efforts that I did not deem worthy enough of a review, did not prepare me for what is going on on Manipulator. It's not as if Segall sets all his previous work aside, far from it even. It's just that the songs shine so much more. There is so much pop hidden away in all that attracts attention first. It simply makes Manipulator unresistable.
Segall manages to write and record songs at a furious pace and release them with as much speed. Manipulator is or at least seems to have been made with a little more finesse and attention for the finer details of performing songs. The result is a sixties infused garage rock album with a little pop overtones that make Manipulator so much more interesting. What is the secret? As simple as the use of acoustic guitars underneath it all? Or does Segall simply write or pays more attention to writing melodies over the garage rock. 'The faker' is a fairly furious rocker. Lots of fuzzed/distorted guitars and other instruments. At the same time the singing melody is spot on, as are the solos. A little Social Distortion + a little garage rock = great pop? The formula seems to be this simple.
Whether the song is more psychedelic, more garage or of a milder character, Ty Segall has impressed me more than on any other previous record. Take the fairly simple sounding 'Green belly'. Nothing much seems to be going on. The acoustic strumming is tight, the lead notes extremely pleasant, the singing exactly what it is supposed to be. In other words the song is flawless. The effect being that several songs from the late 60s are brought to mind and it doesn't matter which one, as 'Green Belly' is it's own master.
'Connection man' goes a bit over the top and does not belong to my favourites, but does add to the flavour of Manipulator. As such it is a integral part of this album. 'Mister main', built up around a central notes motive, is more funky, with a solo that flies out of the bend, sung with a falsetto. Again something very different from the song that went before. It's as diverse as it gets on a garage rock album. Segall doesn't stick to one corner, but explores all sorts of styles without leaving himself behind.
With 17 songs the album is long. That is true, but who cares if the quality is like it is? So much different things are going on in the 17 songs, that there are not too many objections to the length of Manipulator.
So reading all the above dear reader it is time to make amends on one of my rather strong opinions of summer 2013: "Ty Segall can't stand in the shoes of Mikal Cronin" (http://wonomagazine.blogspot.nl/2013/07/mcii-mikal-cronin.html). I'm glad that Mr. Segall took head to my words and repudiated them in such a strong and convincing way. All crazyness on a stick: Manipulator is a great and varied album. The footprint is psychedelic garage rock, the way it is presented is pure but loud, exuberant pop. Many pop group in the second half of the 60s would have loved to have been able to tap into this richness and score hits with it. The times have changed, sure, but a good album is a good album in 2014 and that is just what Manipulator is. Good + good = something resembling greatness.
You can listen to 'Manipulator' here: