Let me start with the positive: There aren’t many people out there making music as interesting and complex as Ty Segall in the indie rock world, and if you want some crisp guitar shredding, this is a great album to come to. Now, the negative: Just because you can write a song that does T. Rex better than T. Rex ever did, doesn’t mean you need to write a whole album of them. And you really don’t need to write a double-album of them. In these days of Spotify, bands fight to push out volume, and. like so many Stephen King novels, what they really need is an editor. Freedom’s Goblin is overstuffed–even with four re-released songs and one cover. But that’s the only negative thing I’m going to say about it, because there are many more reasons to love this record than criticize it. There’s stuff on here that blows away everything else out there–it’s music few people can even try to make, because it takes consummate control and technique. Yeah, it may sound sloppy and improvisational on the surface, but if you really listen it’s obviously a well-constructed symphony of clang, clatter and bang.
Let’s start with that cover: Every 1s A Winner. Segall takes the mostly harmless disco single and turns it into a crunchy garage band masterpiece–disco grunge. I love it. Then listen to The Main Pretender–the most T-Rexy song on the record–with its strange horns poking through, like pinholes in a balloon, so everything else can stream through.
And the epic, extended-jam of She is some powerful shit. It’s got a relentless bassline, like a locomotive, and some Black Sabbath solos in the middle that will make you push your head back and fiercely plow through air guitar power chords, followed by a keyboard solo (a keyboard solo!) that will make you lose your sense of time. This is easily the most out-there, classic rock song on the record, and it alone is worth the price of purchase.
Then there are other standouts: The single, Fanny Dog, about his family pet. Alta, which starts out slow and gentle before exploding with the best drumwork on the record and a stretch in the middle that sounds an awful lot like Traffic’s “Dear Mr. Fantasy” in the way it reaches out past the borders and then pulls you back in. And Prison–a one-minute long burst of psychedelia. Yeah, I could go on and on. But I’ll stop there. This album is highly recommended.