For fans of: T. Rex, Alice Cooper, Grateful Dead, Fuzz
Who is Freedom’s Goblin? The name conjures a small, grotesque creature running amuck, greedy and unbounded and causing great chaos. What a perfect analogy for the sprawling monstrosity that is Ty Segall’s latest work, “Freedom’s Goblin.”
While the record isn’t quite sure when to stop, it certainly provides quite a bit of smile-widening mayhem over its hour-plus runtime. Even though Segall has never been one for restriction, we find him here at his most free. While that can mean an uneven listening experience for some, it also means a whole lot of uproarious fun.
Album opener “Fanny Dog” hard wires its hook into your brain through sheer power and simplicity. The arrangement, horns blaring, perfectly evokes a big, dumb love song for a dog.
“The Main Pretender” is led by a nearly comedic sax hook through a tightly woven patchwork of glam noise. Moments like these abound throughout “Freedom’s Goblin.” While many of the songs don’t seem to be cut from the same musical cloth at first, this slipshod mishmash is part of what gives the album its distinctive character.
Within five minutes, Segall traverses the realms of acoustic love songs, hokey saloon waltzes, and Judas Priest chugging (replete with some excellently strained screams). There truly is a little something for everyone, as Ty continues to grow further and further from his traditional “garage rock” label.
All that being said, there comes a point when freedom isn’t really free. It comes at the cost of a bloat. “Shoot You Up” falls strongly into Ty Segall clichés, an overly fuzzed descending progression with a hazy vocal delivery which melodically recalls last year’s “Break a Guitar,” itself one of the less inspiring songs on last year’s self-titled release.
The previously mentioned “Last Waltz” is somewhat new territory, but comes off as nothing more than a novelty track. These moments aren’t necessarily lowlights, but compared to the rest, they fail to earn their spot on an already overstuffed release. The concluding track, a 12-minute epic rendition of the title track from 2013’s “Sleeper,” is a fittingly excessive way to close.
While may not be the most artistically assembled collection of songs, since its release I’ve found myself generally captivated by this album. Despite being born of excess and greed, “Freedom’s Goblin” has dug its gnarled teeth firmly into my fickle mind.