Two Californian talents unite on a pleasing, if sometimes bite-sized, new record...
'Joy'

Back in 2012 everyone’s favourite prolific Californians Ty Segall and Tim Presley (under the White Fence moniker) collaborated on ‘Hair’, a disarming record full of twists and turns, and it’s fair to say ‘Joy’ is cut from the same cloth. With 15 tracks, of which some are short interludes, it convincingly, insouciantly veers between poles of petering out fuzz and trebly lucidity, and of woozy major sevenths and raw, garagey momentum, as on ‘Good Boy’.

On ‘Other Way’ some pretty funny dog barks segue into one of the album’s heaviest and best moments. It sits nicely alongside the spidery stomp of ‘Hey Joel, Where You Going With That?’, which louchely engages with the surreal in lines like “please blow your horn… yellow sandwich submarine… makes me cry like a fly”.

‘Rock Flute’ is as bad as its title suggests, though these 30 seconds obviously don’t detract from the record. Ditto for ‘Tommy’s Place’, whose ending’s acrobat’s ta-da can only draw faint applause. It doesn’t bode well for the next track, ‘My Friend’, but it eventually tends towards some tasty guitar work.

Noting song lengths is rarely productive, but here they definitely speak, not to any of kind of studied intensity, nor to the fruits of a particularly sprawling jam session, but to two musicians simply having a good time or “calling themselves from inside the house”, as they put it. There is a strange synchrony, telepathy maybe, in their “shared individuality”.

‘Joy’ is scattered with weird pitch-shifting and stereo effects, and leitmotifs like “We see oceans, baby blue” and the rattly riff on ‘Please Don’t Leave This Town’ and ‘Body Behaviour’ bring together what could otherwise feel a bit directionless, turning it into something more cyclical. ‘Joy’ is like a rickety wooden rollercoaster – there are a few nice inclines with some mildly disappointing drops between some pulsating flats, and you end up getting off slightly begrudgingly.

7/10

Words: Wilf Skinner

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