Releasing at least one album every year over the last decade, it’s amazing that garage rocker Ty Segall has been able to maintain a consistently high quality over his prolific catalog. For his second album of 2018, Segall has once again teamed up with White Fence, aka Tim Presley. Joy, the follow up to the 2012 Ty Segall and White Fence collaboration Hair is a collection of 15 psychedelic rock songs that stands up well against anything else in Segall or Presley’s oeuvre.
Combining Segall’s punk attitude and garage rock aesthetic with Presley’s melodic craftsmanship, Joy is a powerful, hook-filled rock album that dredges through the mud while remaining accessible. With all but two songs coming in under three minutes, there is a rapid-fire nature to Joy. The songs come in fast, detonate, and quickly disappear in a cloud of smoke. That adds to the frenzied urgency of the album, but at times the songs seem to end too quickly, leaving the listener wishing there were an extra verse or two.
Album opener “Beginning,” despite a runtime of only 1:44, manages to transition from slow spacy crooner to frantic drumming to acoustic folk to psychedelic rock. The rest of the album follows that lead, with songs wildly careening between genres and tempos, sometimes sounding like multiple songs mashed together.
Folk and rock stylings clash and intertwine in the dynamic “Good Boy.” Segall and Presley’s harmonies are both beautiful and creepy as they sing stream-of-consciousness lyrics. “I’m allowed to love you no matter where we are,” they sing. “We are who we say we are.”
Though many of the songs feature wild juxtapositions and dynamic structures, there are some simple tracks as well. “A Nod” is one of the most basic songs on the album, with a couple simple strummed acoustic licks and an easy, singable melody. “I want to believe in me,” Segall and Presley sing, their voices sounding neither hopeful nor despondent.
The bouncing bassline of “Do Your Hair” combined with layers of acoustic strumming and distorted guitars makes it one of the most infectious tracks on a highly infectious album. The loud, droning “Other Way” carries the biggest garage punk influence on the album while the album-closing “My Friend” is a subtle, beautiful folk ballad devoid of any expected craziness.
The refrain “rock is dead” is repeated throughout “Hey Joel, Where You Going With That?” Meanwhile, Segall and Presley are loudly proving that to be a lie. Segall’s fuzzed-out guitar riffs and unique song compositions combined with Presley’s melodies results in Joy becoming one of the most enjoyable rock albums of the year.