Ty Segall & Mikal Cronin Reverse Shark Attack (In the Red)
Since I had never heard Reverse Shark Attack, a vinyl-only release, until this weekend, I wasn't sure what to expect, but from the first track, "I Wear Black," I could tell I was going to like it (and I don't think it's completely coincidental that the title recalls the Standells' "Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White"). Ty Segall's garage-punk sound hasn't changed dramatically over the years; he's just refined it, and if you liked 2012's Twins, you might like this, too. Or not. Because it's messier and less melodic.
The biggest difference is that his influences—the Beatles, Pink Floyd, and every band who ever appeared on Nuggets or Back from the Grave—were more explicit in 2009 than they are now (that same year, he released Lemons, his third solo album). And I don't see a problem with that, especially since it applies to most young artists, with the exception of the occasional outlier, like Daniel Johnston.
In this case, Segall adds some Lux Interior-style swagger—whoops, moans, high-pitched squeals—to his vocal approach, and he pulls it off, but why try when he was already such a terrific singer? Well, why not. He was still finding his voice, both literally and figuratively, at the time. As for his Laguna Beach colleague, Mikal Cronin sings less often, but seems more comfortable in his own skin.
Since the songs are so short, with the exception of the Link Wray-on-acid title track, Reverse Shark Attack feels more like an EP than an LP, and that includes their spiky take on Floyd's "Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk." If it isn't quite as essential as Segall's Hair collaboration with White Fence, it comes close.
In the Red releases Reverse Shark Attack on Jan 22. That same day, they'll also be reissuing Traditional Fools, Segall's one-off trio project (review to come).