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Ty Segall - Twins

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Artist: Ty Segall

Album: Twins

Label: Drag City

Review date: Nov. 6, 2012

Since most people can easily hear an album these days and since there’s a glut of online goofs tossing in their two cents, I usually try and say something erudite or contextual about an album. But goddammit if I don’t just want to say I really love Ty Segall’s latest album, Twins. It’s an album that’s hits a number of triggers for 20- and 30-somethings: it’s a great pop album; it’s got a nostalgic tinge of grunge; Segall writes good melodies; it winds within itself the bones of garage rock that have held up much of the first decade of the 2000s. It’s as if some record exec looked at a list of things that will sell an album, and said, “Look, if putting this all together will save our collective asses, then yeah, of course, you’ve got my blessing. I mean, this house of cards is tumbling down around us, so whatever delays the inevitable.” But Segall isn’t a hack, of course, and Twins comes from an honest artistic place, not the desperation sweat of man staring obsolescence in the face.

One of the most likeable things about the album is perhaps its tempered mercuriality. It moves swiftly and musical ideas are dispatched with a briskness, but not in a drastic way, not in a way where it seems like Twins is a collection of experiments. Segall’s amorphousness is a real asset. In a cynical way, it keeps things fresh for a consumer demo ravaged by capitalism’s never-ending quest for continuous newness and by a constant fidgeting with smartphones for Twitter/Tumblr/Pinterest/Instagram/Facebook/Reddit/e-mail updates. (Not that Drag City is a crass business or that Segall is intentionally chasing the ADD-infected, but it’s still somewhat appropriate that he’s come to prominence now.) In a sincere way, however, it feels playful and fun without ever devolving into an insubstantial confection. What sets Segall apart from simple genre-hopping artists that have no identity or goals is that his personality and a general tone, a sense of authorship, pervades the album, holding the assemblage together like a bunch of loose bits inside a loose wrapping of twine.

And while amorphousness might be a cynical asset, it also works against the cynical who want to define and outline everything and relegate it to stable definitions. Genre terms, after all, are merely marketing ploys to move units and encourage people to accept music as discrete, commodified pieces that are easy to digest instead of art you should think about and feel in your bodies. Segall seems, in his very artistic being, to resist this, making Twins a genuinely engaging and fun album – two qualities which don’t often meet in art in this way.

By Andrew Beckerman

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