ALBUM REVIEW: Ty Segall – Sleeper

Sleeper artwork
Sleeper artwork

Screen Shot 2013-07-14 at 11.36.33 AM

ARTIST Ty Segall

ALBUM Sleeper

LABEL Drag City

RELEASE DATE 20.8.2013

9.1 | 10

Ty Segall is not one to keep quiet. He’s released enough music to make even Rihanna say “slow down, dude.” Since the calendar turned to 2012, Segall has been responsible for four LPs, with a fifth due under the FUZZ moniker in October. Up until this point, though, the music released by Segall has been very plugged in; the type of brash, reckless rock music parents try to hide from their kids. That his latest solo album, Sleeper, keeps true to its title in being a largely acoustic-driven affair, is a rather surprising development. That Sleeper continues to showoff Segall’s talents as a songwriter is anything but a surprise.

Some have argued that Sleeper, due to its acoustic sound, will only alienate and shrink Segall’s audience. While that notion would ring true on a lesser effort, the melodic gloss of Sleeper can only attract a larger audience. His riffs are just as tight on an acoustic guitar, as he shows an innate ability to punch the audience with tight, highly impressionistic guitar riffs throughout. “The Man Man” begins with Segall doing his best Oasis impersonation before morphing into De Stijl era White Stripes during its latter half. It’s one of the only moments that has electronic guitar, giving its usage a much larger impact.

As NPR pointed out during their First Listen series, Sleeper is largely focused on familial concerns stemming from the death of Segall’s stepfather and his subsequent falling out with his mother. The lyrical weight such circumstances wrought make Sleeper the most emotionally resonating work of Segall’s young yet illustrious career. On “Crazy,” he celebrates the life of his stepfather, as he sings, “he’s here, he’s still here / but she is crazy,” suspending that last word for added emphasis. “She Don’t Care,” also is potentially about his domestic tribulations, yet instead of using his mother’s apathy as a way to bring himself down, he’d rather show how dissimilar the two are by showing us how much he cares.

“Where do I go home / Is it in / Is it in, in the west,” he ponders on the closing “The West.” “Home is where the heart is” is a saying we’ve all heard, and it comes to mind while listening to “The West.” I take that saying to mean, “home is comfort,” and on “The West,” Segall is lamenting his desire to find somewhere comfortable to call his own.  Like everyone else, he’s been filling the void with sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll. Unlike everyone else, he’s able to make his journey sound like the destination.

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