There’s always a fresh hit of Segall on the horizon and 2019 is no gap year. Skidding out of the last two heavy hitters – the acerbic ball of anxiety, Emotional Mugger, and the grandiose vision of Freedom’s Goblin – Ty’s turning inward for an album that’s got less boogie in its butt, less angst in its eyes, but no less experimental spirit than his last couple of outings. Musically Segall is plucking from several camps. There’s a freshly pumped in Eastern air, some sax teeth – not skronking quite as vicious as on Goblin – but still toasting the edges, and he’s littering the album with plenty of prog-minded excursions that twist sound into ragged towers. Lyrically, he’s looking for inspiration at home, in a more settled life, but that’s not always apparent when the guitars flare and the mutant cicadas set the pace.
It’s a bit telling that, in a recent Hidden Gems for the site, Ty cited Greek prog album 666 by Aphrodite’s Child as a recent favorite, admitting its shade had fallen on his more recent sessions. That album is nothing if not eclectic, finding its tone more in cumulative excess than cohesion and First Taste operates much in the same way. Every sonic scrap is at his disposal as long as it pushes the final result further from the bounds of this Earth. That’s not to say this is just a collection of chaotic experiments, there’s always that refreshing thread of pop running through Ty’s albums and its here in fine form.
The folk cool-down “I Sing Them” is up there with Segall’s great acoustic material, but twisted with a dissonance that doesn’t always creep into his sweeter songs. “Whatever” sounds like it could have met with the Emotional Muggers in a darkened alley, a slight vicious smile between its lips. “Radio” is a pop heater that won’t quit and “Ice Plant” plays with space and patience more than most of Segall’s fare, haunting in a way he rarely does. First Taste is the sound of Segall enjoying his freedom. Ascending to the heights of the indie scaffold is no easy task, but this doesn’t feel like an album for the masses, more for Segall himself. That his own winking indulgences also happen to be endlessly entertaining is just a bonus for the rest of us.
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