Album review: Ty Segall

Ty Segall - Ty Rex (Goner Records)

ALTHOUGH HIS death is approaching its 40th anniversary, Marc Bolan's influence remains potent for musicians, not within the mainstream, which he dominated from 1971 to 1973, but within indie/alternative.

Given his pop smarts, often unconventional lyrics, idiosyncratic songwriting style, post modern mash-up of different eras, and androgynous imagery, Bolan's T Rex is a more natural role model for left field musicians, be it Bauhaus and Siouxsie Sioux; Supernature-era Goldfrapp, the classic rock stylings of King Tuff or the eletronica of Neon Indian; while The Black Keys 'Everlasting Light' hardly bothers to disguise it's a rewrite of Bolan's 'Mambo Sun'.

The most extreme take though must be from prolific Californian musician Ty Segall, whose various Bolan covers are collected in Ty Rex. Given his rough, low-fi, aggressive style, there is little in the way of polish here, but that serves to remind of Bolan's impact on punk.

This short, sharp, shock of a collection balances well known songs with more obscure tracks. '20th Century Boy' comes on like an crazed, amphetamine fueled Stooges; 'Buick Mackane' revells in the wildness of the original, pushing it further (though not by much ); 'The Slider' is possibly the most faithful to the original, albeit slightly heavier and sludgier (but then how to improve on such a song? ).

Segall gives himself free rein over 'Elemental Child' which veers from rough'n'ready r'n'b, which then slurs to a slow down, before revving up and getting going, over and over again. A delight is the demo-like take on 'The Motivator' which has a strut and swagger Bolan would appreciate.

Ty Rex is for Segall die-hards only and Bolan fanatics who enjoy the eccentricity of, say, Unicorn, and may see in this album, something of its oddball spirit.


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