I remember hearing about the passing of Jay Reatard and being entirely confused. I still recall sitting in front of my computer, probably getting ready to write a review, and reading the news headlines. I couldn’t believe that, here was a musician whom I had most recently bought an album of, and he was gone. I immediately forgot about everything I needed to do and played his music non-stop. And ever since then, there’s been a void missing in that garage rock sound.
Now it’s unfair to Ty Segall for me to be mentioning Reatard in the review for his newest album, Melted. But if ever there was the perfect scenario for a musician to step into, and completely reign over, now is the time for Segall. “Imaginary Person” is stellar mastery of what fuzzy, straight-ahead, no-nonsense punk rock is supposed to be. The pop is where it fizzles and capers off the edgy sides but Segall is in fine form here: stable, playful and energetic. It’s one of the many reasons why Melted is probably going to be the best of its class by the end of the year.
Many have dismissed Segall and his latest release because of its inability at piercing new territory. This is, mostly, immediately forgotten when you have something as ridiculously catchy as “Sad Fuzz”. Blistering guitars squelch at the seams, while Segall plainly bellows “Please don’t be sad, my baby…you know you’re mine,” the raucous intensity comes in the form of the drums and Segall’s own penchant for declaring the words, even when they’re as simple as “it’s lovely outside,” in the most striking of manners. Most of what’s hidden under the reverb of Melted is what everyone strives for: solid melodies and hooks.
There are a lot of moments that gently wash away, against the pushing drive of the other songs on the album. Segall mostly attempts to create different spaces of time and is able to make many of them work to his direct advantage. This happens on the gentle stroke of “Bees”, with its bass melody and galloping drive; the call for different voices is greeted with a mixture of raspy souls and the bass’ acoustic part. And it couldn’t come at a better time with what’s definitely the earliest part of The Beatles on “Girlfriend”. Strengthened by a marvelous opening, the drums reach heightened proportions with a soaring verse-chorus blend. Segall is basically in full uproar over what he feels is his and the song’s certainly aided by it.
Although Melted is surely a welcome follow-up to Lemons’ catchy greatness, the smallest of missteps come in the lightest of manners. A much more subdued nature is favored and Segall and his bandmates stretch the spectrum with menacing structure (“Mrs.”), when they could have probably just been rocking away. If anything, the raunchiness of what rock can do is felt like it was sorely missed and it makes up for moments of uneasiness. But don’t get me wrong, they’re quickly dispelled with jarring moments of true musical bliss (“Alone”); when you’re at the point where you can pinpoint the smallest of challenges, there is no shame in that.