Ty Segall’s “Sleeper” Is Fun, Inessential

Longtime readers of Tulip Frenzy know that we consider Ty Segall the most fun thing that’s happened to rock’n’roll since, like, the Pixies.  It doesn’t mean we have to love everything he does.  Sleeper is the only record Ty’s released this year, though we eagerly await the debut of Fuzz, his power trio that will soon go out on tour in support of their October 1 album release.  In days of yore, like when Dylan and the Beatles occupied a comparable position of importance to the broad space over which Segall so solidly dominates, there’d be listening parties in which acolytes would solemnly nod as the turntable spun that first play of some new record.  These days we download a record like Sleeper and listen to it without much worrying that it portends much meaning.  Yes, it is a (mostly) acoustic, often pretty album released by a tuneful punk rocker, but it’s not exactly like he’s gone off and joined a gorp-eating, tree-hugging cult or anything. It’s just a quiet record by a young man who writes songs easily.  And given the dexterity and self-cloning called for to produce an album like last year’s Twins, in which he played all the instruments, turning the machine on while he picks and sings a little must have seemed like a vacation.  This is not some weird detour, and it’s not hugely meaningful, though we acknowledge that it stems from a difficult time in his life when his (adopted) father died.  It’s an entertaining summer release that will keep us amused until Fuzz enters our brains and cores out what’s left of the cortex.

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