[sic] Magazine

Fuzz – II

No matter the guise, a new Ty Segall release is comforting these days, his yearly outings a welcome constant that proves at least some things are right with the world. This year he’s back with schoolyard friends Charlie Moothart and Chad Ubovich for Fuzz’s relatively overdue second LP. Last together for the psychedelic proto-metal poundings of the band’s S/T debut in 2013, the Cali three-piece are in muscular form here, their riff-heavy tunes and pedal abuse culminating into an hour-long guitar workout.

Amidst the expected red-lining, jagged meat hooks and blowouts are more great additions to the Segall canon. Three-minute pop gem “Rat Race” bursts out of the blocks with killer fuzz, Moothart’s overblown guitar tracing Ubovich’s bass over the track’s peaks. The marauding opener, too, is built on Segall’s impassioned sneer and his monolithic drumming. In terms of trademark sludge, though, these two are just the tip of the iceberg. Rife with squiggling guitar torture, “Pollinate”, for example, is as heavy as Lemmy’s lead-lined underpants, as is the knuckle-dragging rocker “Bringer Of Light”.

It’s testament to Segall that he has his own eponymous adjective these days: his Segall-esque standing shoulder to shoulder with comparisons such as Sabbath-style. Right on cue, the headbanging “Pipe” is the best of both worlds, a sweet solo escaping crushing repetition. Just as loud, the fast-tempo “Red Flag” burns with energy of American punk as Segall gets gnarly with the whammy bar. The surprises don’t stop there though. On “Say Hello” he uncharacteristically lets his own drums lead against a backdrop of vaguely Eastern jangles that pulse like a tribal raga before exploding into a heavyweight Beatles vs. Zeppelin showdown. The melancholy midsection of “Let It Live” is stood up with super-charged pillars of progressive blues excess too.

Segall saves his jaw-drop moment for “Silent Sits The Dustbowl” though. Make it through to track thirteen of fourteen and you’re rewarded with a set of emotive and accomplished strings. And yet, amazingly, they still riff, coursing a melody normally reserved for the guitar until bottomed-out bass cruises in to round out the down-tempo creeper. Quite where you go from there is a question Segall clearly struggled with, however. Throwing in a bloated 14-minute, feedback-fuelled jam to close, II fades out as if waking up to learn the previous hour was just a dream. You’d feel a little cheated, but Segall’s running order comes from somewhere darker than dream. II isn’t the stuff of nightmares, but it’s a shadowy trip that flirts with the wrong side of the tracks alright.

Best track: “Rat Race”

~II is released 23rd October 2015 via In The Red.~