Ty Segall Turns To Covers With ‘Fudge Sandwich’ – Third LP of 2018 (ALBUM REVIEW)

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Frank Zappa was notoriously prolific, so much so that his record company Warner Brothers would not release his mega offering Lather, so Zappa went to a local radio station, played the work and urged listeners to tape the album and bootleg it. Ty Segall has a spiritual relative in Zappa as Segall can just not stop making and releasing music, thankfully in this digital age there are no restrictions as Fudge Sandwich is his third major release of 2018 (behind Joy and Freedom’s Goblin).
Fudge Sandwich is a complete cover record of various songs which interest Segall. In the press release he mentions it doesn’t matter if you like it because it was made for fun and that freewheeling “doin’ it for myself” vibe is just one of the things which makes the record so likable.

Segall’s love of Zappa’s oddball persona can even be spied in the album opener as Segall completely reshapes a staple, War’s “Low Rider”, into a pulsing, horror filled offering, far from the Chicano fanfare of the original. Not for everyone, the cover immediately demonstrates that Segall and company aren’t afraid to interpret these tracks in their own warped way.

Slightly more conventional is Ty’s wooly garage take on the Spencer Davis Group classic “I’m A Man” which pushes the grooving beat around fuzzy guitar work and a noise rocking ending while closer “Slowboat” layers up the folk vocals and delightfully scuffs up the original by Sparks. Another clear winner is “Hit It and Quit It” which continues the distorted garage soul on the Funkadelic deeper cut, unfortunately, more was hinted at as the cover starts to fade out just when the guitar solos are getting heated.

Not all of the experiments are winners, his take on Gong’s art rock “Pretty Miss Titty” has a put-upon English accent leading the way of an already angular tune while “Class War” by The Dils, speaks directly to today’s (and 1977’s) growing wealth gap, but Segall chooses to slow the pace down killing the call to arms fireworks of the original and dragging out the song for an extra minute diluting the overall message.

The lack of power on that cover proves Segall is switching gears on the originals because he is clearly not afraid of the speed. He amps up the punk propulsion for Neil Yong’s “The Loner” and clangs and bangs forward with a fairly straight-ahead buzzing covers of Amon Düül II’s “Archangel Thunderbird” and Rudimentary Peni’s aggressive “Rotten To The Core” .

The best cover throws the playbook out the window as Segall tackles “St, Stephan” by The Grateful Dead. Starting out with sludge based progressions the track fires into sizzling punk tempos around whiney vocals while a distorted version of the classic hippie riff rings out. Not sure if Jerry Garcia would smile or wince at the trippy bridge and cacophony outro, but the interpretation is unique and damn exciting.

Segall has demonstrated continuously that he draws inspiration from a huge range of artists (don’t forget Freedom’s Goblin badass take on “Every 1’s a Winner”). This wide range of sounds makes Fudge Sandwich easy to digest with a tossed-off vibe and oddball fuzzy charm from songs that inspire one of the most creative and prolific rockers on the scene.

Photo Credit: Denée Segall

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