"Our salivating makes it all taste worse," croons Ty Segall in "Taste," the lead single from his latest album, First Taste. He's talking about us: how we're the masters of our own destiny, tellers of our own prophecy, makers of our own sickened choices. It's a warning, but this time, the finger is pointing back at him too. He's one with us. First Taste is an introspective set for Segall after the extroversions of 2018's Freedom's Goblin. Lines of struggle wind through the songs as Segall reflects on family, re-encountering pasts, anticipating futures. He skates through oneness, self-esteem, the parents - all the joys of a rain-filled childhood - while reaching outward in the here and now, feeling for a shared pulse.
Meanwhile, the production is far out! Segall's creative juices suggested some radical (in the older sense of the word) new instrumental territories: koto, recorder, bouzouki, harmoniser, mandolin, saxophones and brass, voices, and a sprinkling of keys. Segall occupies the drum set whenever it's heard on the left speaker, while Charles Moothart plays the kit on the right side. Segall's vocal prowess sits in fresh relief against his mutant orchestra, spooling tension through some of his most patient songs, his feral scream in complete control.
Whatever the mood is, the pedal is pushed cleanly to the metal - and that means to the max of the lightest ballads ever, or through the most raging rocks yet. Segall's song designs are all over the place, but unlike the freewheeling feast style of Freedom's Goblin, these twelve numbers form a tightly revolving cycle of song and sound that focuses thoughts.