Ty Segall / Manipulator / Drag City / **** ½
Over the past few years, you could mark the changing of the seasons with the release of a new Ty Segall record. Between solo and side projects, LPs and one-off singles, the dude made more music in the past five years than David Bowie has throughout his entire recording career.
More importantly, the small mountain of music Segall amassed has been, with few exceptions, really damn good. The talking point with Segall’s latest, Manipulator, is the time he spent on it: a full-month in the studio, practically a Chinese Democracy level of excess by his typical bang-’em-out standard. But time, as it turns out, is exactly what Segall needed to take his music to the next level.
Manipulator is the San Fran garage rock prodigy’s Electric Warrior, his Ziggy Stardust—a record that properly accentuates all his strengths without sanding down his weirder edges. For one, Segall self-edited, parsing his endless bank of songs for only the choicest, some of which (“It’s Over,” “The Clock”) rank among his absolute best. Even more so, he recruited Chris Woodhouse, who produced this thing to near perfection: pulling incredible performances and an array of twistedly scuzzy guitar effects out of Segall and his band. No telling if the process of Manipulator marks an end to Segall’s prolific streak, but if it leads to more records like this, he can take all the time he needs.