"Segall's fuzzed-out Fender blares and blasts right from the get go....SINGLES is presented to us in true lo-fi form, jagged edges and all."
Photographer: Ivy Lovell.
Musicians usually make their grand statements on albums, where they have plenty of time and a bunch of songs in which to make a coherent statement. Singles are where they toss off quick thoughts, blow off steam, show off their latest cool riff/melody, and generally have fun -- you have two songs and six or seven minutes, so you dive in headfirst and make the most of what you've got on hand. Listening to Ty Segall's solo albums since leaving the Epsilons, it's hard not to notice the stylistic progression as he moved from minimalist garage rock into noisy psychedelics and then more measured pop statements. This evolution is less obvious on the singles he's released, and while you can certainly tell several years have passed as the collection Singles 2007-2010 (which, as the title suggests, collects non-LP singles Segall released over the space of four years) plays through, the big difference seems to be a matter of fidelity and instrumentation -- on the early tracks, Segall has just a fuzzed-out guitar, bare-bones drumming, and a cheap tape machine at his disposal, while as he goes along, the recording setup gets a bit more sophisticated, the occasional instrumental overdub or accompanying musician gives the songs a broader melodic palette, and it all allows the melodies to shine a bit brighter. But if the textures on early tracks are rough, "Where We Go," "Sweets," or "Booksmarts" aren't strikingly different as songs than "Maria Stacks," "Lovely One" and "Happy Creeps," even if he's refined his formula a bit over time. At the same time, while Segall's albums have most clearly defined themselves through sound and feel more than their songs, Singles 2007-2010 makes a clear case for the consistent strength of Segall's talent as a composer, in which he finds many new ways to work out the traditional parameters of early punk and garage rock while making them sound tuneful, strong, and energetic enough that you'll probably be doing a freaked-out stomp by the end of this album. Segall also tosses in five unreleased demos -- as crude as the early recordings but similarly rewarding -- along with a few covers (he does right by the Gories and Simply Saucer) and a collaboration with Thee Oh Sees. Singles 2007-2010 may not be the perfect introduction to Ty Segall's work, but it shows off his skills and his range very well, and hardcore fans will be glad to have these stray (and often hard to find) tracks in one convenient package. ~ Mark Deming