Last year, Segall’s standout Melted packed more garage shredding into a half hour than most double-albums do. It was consistent, stacking loud woozy garage-rock guitar melodies on top of belted catchy hooks that erupt so quickly they’re done before you have a chance to come down. It’s hard to imagine that many folks would get angry If this became the formula for a Ty Segall record.
But recently Segall has proved himself a rock chameleon of sorts. Much of his output has shared a kinship with former label brethren Jay Reatard, but it’s clear his musical influences and loves fall all over the rock map—evidenced by formidable covers of both GG Allin and T. Rex.
Thus sets the stage for Goodbye Bread, in which Segall seems to disprove what this album is every two and a half minutes. This may seem unsettling, but it proves to be a truly impressive exercise in versatility from a songwriter beginning to come into his own. The album begins with its title track, in which Segall trades his accelerated crescendos for a persona that falls somewhere between classic and surf rock. The falsetto he tries for the chorus weirdly fits, giving the album an early dreamlike state. You picture him crooning on a California boardwalk bench. Ironically, the following track is literally titled “California Commercial” but trades in the chilled out vibes of “Goodbye Bread” for Segall’s more familiar romp shoutings. He’s rowdy and the guitars are building and building and an economical minute and a half later it’s all over.
Then “Comfortable Home (A True Story)” is a near ballad, and you realize you may not be able to box Segall into anything this time around. There is an impressive depth to these tracks that feels refreshing. The way Segall glides through the spaces from all-out raucous rock-mode to mellow and mild-mannered and everything in between and simply owns all of it. This ability mixed with a readily apparent improvement in songwriting means that though Goodbye Bread is no doubt impressive on repeat listens. Whatever comes next could be scary good.