The Lowdown: Six years after their slight-but-satisfying Hair, Bay Area rock demi-god Ty Segall and longtime collaborator Tim Presley (dba White Fence) return with another collaborative album of half-melted psych-rock intent on sending listeners on a high-speed swirl through a very cracked kaleidoscope.
The Good: Segall and Presley’s psychedelic bona fides remain in fine standing here; eagle-eared listeners will catch nods to everything from The Who’s rock-opera theatricality (“Body Behavior”) to the Three O’Clock’s Paisley Underground jangles (“A Nod”) and the humid weirdness of the Olivia Tremor Control and other Elephant 6 denizens (“Good Boy”). It’s not all (admittedly well-executed) pastiche, though; closer “My Friend” strips things down for a bittersweet ballad that feels like one of the most fully realized songs on an album full of sketches.
The Bad: After the triumph of January’s Freedom’s Goblin, almost any follow-up album was probably going to be a letdown (especially one that followed within the same calendar year). Sadly, that’s the case with Joy; though it’s sprinkled with promising ideas (I would’ve loved more of the falsetto and faux-tribal drums of “Beginning” or the machine-shop guitars of “Other Way”), it spends most of its time in a fuzz haze of undercooked hooks and scattershot callbacks that never really lead to any actual cohesion. Oh, and “Rock Flute” should be a fineable offense.
The Verdict: If one Ty Segall record a year isn’t enough for you, you’ll likely find enough muggy demo-grade fun amid Joy’s best moments. If you’re a dabbler who’s already given part of your 2018 to Freedom’s Goblin, though, you’re probably safe sitting this one out. Something tells us the wait won’t be long.
Essential Tracks: “Body Behavior”, “Other Way”, and “My Friend”