Ty Segall and White Fence - Joy (Cover Artwork)

Ty Segall and White Fence

Joy (2018)

Drag City

For his second project of 2018 following the genre condensation of Freedom’s Goblin, Ty Segall once again joins forces with Tim Presley (White Fence) for the Kinks-ian ‘60s head trip Joy. Presley and Segall’s collaborative union dates back to 2012’s Hair, which was intended to be a split album but upon witnessing the fortuitous fruits of their alliance, the two journeymen forged an 8-track collusion of psychedelic pleasure. This time we receive a 15-track feast of clean and clear guitar transcendence with a few left field diversions to keep the palate cleansed. The cover art features Segall’s most recent muse Ms. Fanny as well as Presley’s feline friend.

After the quick intro of “Beginning,” our heroes vow to leave town over crystalline acoustics and seasick electrics that quickly morph into the interlude of “Room Connector” with murmuring guitars and shuffling percussion. “Body Behaviour” is a progressive gallop where our narrators inevitably find a wicked little “Strychnine” solo on the outro. “Good Boy” is a gender-bending slice of Hunky Dory acceptance as Segall and Presley eventually decide that definitions be damned, “We have always been / we are people now.” “Hey Joel”’s guitars are ever-seeking and perpetually nauseous as the boys conjure some surrealist “yellow sandwich submarine” and inevitably decide that “Rock is dead” despite the inventive sonics cradling this absurdist manifesto.

The songs’ brevity enhances the slippery ideas Presley and Segall sling through the speakers. “Rock Flute” whines and screeches, and “Other Way” begins with Segall and Fanny growling at each other before devolving into a sheet metal processing plant. “Prettiest Dog” is an early ‘80s Dischord hardcore instrumental sprint right into the harsh whiplash of “Do Your Hair”’s hallucinatory California night where our protagonists beg to “sleep inside / of your leather jacket.” The longest track “She is Gold” is a haunted house full of creaking doors and screeching gates that ultimately lead to a “White Room” full of kaleidoscopic Day-Glo guitars.

The album isn’t all lunacy and non-sequiturs. “A Nod” recalls Segall’s declaration of self-actualization on Goblin’s “I’m Free” as he considers that the “bank says I need money / my friends say I need followers / But I want to believe in me.” Over Morse Code noodling, “Tommy’s Place” celebrates community and an abode “where [they] don’t need cash” “and..friends are there.” “My Friend” ends the album as a pledge to devoted companionship over acoustics that recall the elegiac Twins-standout “Gold on the Shore” bolstered by a queasy steel guitar.

Joy more than lives up to its title as an energetic expedition back in time 50 years with two deliriously talented tour guides.