Review Summary: He might be dreaming, but this ain't no snooze fest.
It might feel like you have only just finished digesting one of serial workaholic Ty Segall’s latest albums – and you’d be right too. Whether that was his solo release “Twins,” the Ty Segall Band’s “Slaughterhouse” or one of his many other releases under his increasingly numerous monikers, the man’s creativity may be difficult to keep up with - but it’s certainly not difficult to appreciate. His sixth solo release however, must be approached as anything but a typical Ty Segall release. Sleeper
sees Segall at his most transparent and personal as he tackles the most intimate of issues; the death of his father. Reigned-in acoustic guitars and dreamy atmospheres replace his signature riff focused lo-fi romps, and although Segall himself is “sure people won't like it,” the frank sincerity that shines through on Sleeper
and the way he executes it is likely to see him disproved.
, perhaps predictably, draws influence from both dream pop and psychedelic music, and there are more than just touches of both The Beatles and the 13th Floor Elevators evident here. Though Segall never quite reaches the heights of the wailing Roky Erickson, his restrained, haunting approach echoes the delivery of Paul McCartney - a comparison which is brought to life after just one listen of the similarly creepy “Eleanor Rigby”. “Sleeper” not only starts the album well, but it brilliantly epitomises all that follows. Vocals which fall somewhere between eerie and nostalgic are coupled with a lazily strummed guitar, complete with just enough reverb to remind us that this is still Ty Segall, after all. The vocal hook “I dream sweet love/I dream for you/from your baby, for you” are among the most powerful and memorable on offer, especially given the album’s context and the obvious intended recipient of the heartfelt words. Elsewhere, the bluesy stroll “6th Street” expertly continues this formula with twanging guitars and a subtle chorus, and album closer “The West” rivals the title track for the award of best in show.
Given how much of a departure Sleeper
is from the norm, it’s no surprise that the languid pace adopted throughout sometimes oversteps the line between relaxed and cumbersome, and some moments do struggle to leave a lasting impression. Whilst the change of pace instilled by Segall is refreshing, the addition of a few up-tempo tracks would’ve provided much needed variety, and they would’ve been wholly possible even without the use of his tried and trusted power chords. The progressively fuzzy outro of “Queen Lullabye” provides a rare injection of pace and the song benefits greatly from the dynamic shift – a tactic which could, and probably should, have been utilized more generously.
Despite this, any niggles are minor, and Sleeper
undoubtedly proves that there is more to Ty Segall’s talents than just lo-fi garage rock. Above all else however, Sleeper
succeeds in being a fitting send off to Segall’s late father, and even though he was certain we wouldn't like it, he should be damn proud to be proved wrong about that.