Album Reviews

Ty Segall and White Fence – Hair

(Drag City) UK release date: 23 April 2012

It’s surely been a while since the last good, old-fashioned freak out. Which is a shame, because few things are as fun as a good, old-fashioned freak out. Not that fake imposter 1970s disco freak out, no; not that “le freak – ce chic” bullshit that has – in some circles – come to represent the freak out. Rather, full-on, beard stroking, acid tripping, robe wearing, ‘dude, dude, I just realised we’re all made of friggin’ stars maaaan’ freak out, like nature (and The Grateful Dead) always intended.

Hair is something of a freak out soundtrack, a tripped out, occasionally coherent, occasionally not, set of songs from Ty Segall and White Fence, two American musicians who seem duty bound to either release a new album or start a new band every second month. Stylistically it makes sense. They both preach similar lo-fi Garage-rock religions, with the added tenements of the importance of melody and the evils of studio polish, even if it is to slightly different congregations. Segall delves more into the poppy end of the spectrum, while White Fence errs shamblingly towards psychedelia.

Both come out here. Time starts out like some sort of stoned take on Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, before girding up its loins to chuck in a distortion laden guitar solo in a completely different time signature. And that happens a lot on Hair. So much in fact, if you find you don’t like the tempo of a particular song, relax. Wait a minute. Because it’ll have almost certainly changed by then.

On I’m Not A Game it takes the appearance of a whirling organ for the original plans of guitar and drums to be dropped, as they head for the horizon in fuzzy unison. On The Black Glove/Rag it just seems as if they’ve tired of the previous four minutes of tunefulness and now want to play something that Iggy Pop would happily rub his crotch on.

It certainly stops fends off boredom. It also feeds the restless energy and good time feeling the record provokes. There’s the distinct impression that the makers derived plenty of enjoyment out of making this album. And that is hugely charming.

The problem is – and this is in common with other freak outs, for sure – Hair suffers from being a little bit slight. It’s fun while it lasts, but it’s easily forgotten once over. It is a commitment-free fling of an album that you’ll fool around with, but you’d never take home to meet the parents.

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Ty Segall and White Fence – Hair