Ty Segall’s “Fudge Sandwich” is a Hard-Psych Rock Record of Covers

Zachary Haigley

Ty Segall’s “Fudge Sandwich” opens with a cover of War’s “Lowrider,” transforming the upbeat and somewhat strange original into an even weirder composition, sounding like a marching anthem for the undead. A diverse percussion and woodwind section is traded in for pulsing drums and flanger-filled synths. Segall tries to emulate the original granulated vocals with everything except for the pitch, preferring a monotone delivery that both adds to the bizarre nature of the track and hints at the carefree and amusing energy inhabiting the comparatively different remainder of this covers’ LP.

The cover for Ty Segall’s “Fudge Sandwich.” Courtesy of In the Red Records.

Luckily for us, the opening track is the most unusual of the album, and it’s dark and monotonous drag is lifted once Segall gets into the next song, The Spencer Davis Group’s “I’m a Man.” Here Segall’s archetypal fuzz finds a temporary home in the early psychedelics of this 1966 hit. The tempo’s brought up to the speed of modern times, however, and with a tighter motif and swampy but melodic distortion, the cover invokes in the listener the same enjoyment Ty Segall and his band no doubt felt playing it. This track is much more representative of both Segall’s own sound and the rest of the record.

The following song is originally from John Lennon’s 1970 album, “Plastic Ono Band” (his first after leaving The Beatles). Segall’s rendition of “Isolation” is harder and much more of a head-banger than the original, with added reverb on the vocals typical of Segall’s musical style.

Other covers include Funkadelic’s “Hit It and Quit It,” Neil Young’s “The Loner,” and The Grateful Dead’s “St. Stephen.” In all three renditions, Segall transforms the tracks into fuzzy garage-punk. “The Loner” and “St. Stephen” sound exceptionally comfortable away from their respective owners and into the hands of a 31-year-old hard-psych talent on the Drag City label.

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It’s safe to say Ty Segall deserves the catharsis of a covers’ record, considering it’s his fourth LP of 2018. With “Freedom’s Goblin” in January, “Joy” in July, and GØGGS’ “Pre Strike Sweep” in September, Segall has had a busy year making as much music as he can.

With most of the covers on “Fudge Sandwich” come from the 1970s, it’s likely that “Fudge Sandwich” is composed of music that specifically inspired Segall. Many are obvious choices, while others like “Archangel Thunderbird” and “Rotten to the Core” are more obscure picks. Nevertheless, Segall is able to bring something new to each track, making for a successful album that serves as both an enjoyment machine and a peak into Ty Segall’s musical origins.

Rating: 4/5 sails

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