Ty Segall & White Fence, “Joy” (Drag City)
The ever-prolific Ty Segall reunites with White Fence (Tim Presley) on “Joy,” a freaky, fragmented album where squeaks and barks interrupt delightful harmonies and psychedelic power pop, totaling 15 tracks in just over 30 minutes.
“Joy” is a slightly less frenzied follow-up to their 2012 collaboration, “Hair.” In parts, the album is like sweeter-sounding 13th Floor Elevators and the tunes could be excerpts from a rock opera for people with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Get distracted for a minute or two and whole songs may have passed you by. There’s a lot of great music on “Joy” but the interludes unnecessarily break the flow.
While this album’s “Other Way” and the 17 seconds of “Prettiest Dog” are reminiscent of its predecessor’s “Crybaby” and “Scissor People” in their intensity, the duo also emphasizes the layers of Who-like vocals and plenty of acoustic guitars. “Do Your Hair” is a prime example of this approach.
The psychedelic introductory, “Beginning,” has bird noises, surf-rock drums, angelic singing and guitars in stereo, while the brief “Room Connector” sounds like the instrumental demo version of a catchy song. “Body Behavior” and “Good Boy” both cross the finish line around the 2-minute mark, packing a wealth of rhythms, guitars and weird lyrics.
“A Nod” could be an outtake from “Tommy,” a reflective moment from the pinball wizard/spiritual leader: “My friends say I need followers/But I want to believe in me.”
The lovely, heartfelt “My Friend” — “I see you falling down again/But I’m still around my friend” — is a melange of acoustic guitars and stays around long enough, nearly 4 minutes, to become one of the album’s most gratifying highlights. Bird sounds end it, so if you listen to the album on repeat it creates a loop with “Beginning.”