Sometimes it takes a while for the dust to settle. An atomic bomb drops on a metropolis. The smoke rises, the chaos ensues, and the vision is blurred. The force is immediate, but coming to a complete realization of the impact is delayed. The days creep by and the devastation somersaults into digestion. The sensors and nerves that were responsible for creating thought and opinion are now prisoners, withering away on their new deathbed. Once the mental explosion takes place, there is no other choice but to accept a new fate.
Ty Segall Band’s release of Slaughterhouse has been this year’s musical atomic bomb. The title of the album causes listeners to take a step back without much time to consider the ramifications before hitting play. The slaughterhouse is a dark place where many lives come to an end for the purpose of allowing others to grow. My experience with Segall’s Slaugtherhouse has caused a numbing, delayed reaction that left my thoughts paralyzed. The dust has settled. I am now able to explain the impact that this record has had on me.
Slaughterhouse is for those looking for a temporary anesthetic. Segall’s deep, lo-fi guitars grip the listener and the band’s sound is beautifully muffled. Opening track “Death” smacks the listener in the face and demands focus on Segall’s distorted strings. A mesmerizing moment is reached as the band enters with a layer of fuzz that feels disorienting. As the song progresses, the listener slowly accepts a new, serene escape that forecasts a change of thought. The introduction is gripping. Listeners are immediately forced to give the keys to Segall and let him be their guide through the upcoming layers of destruction.
The vision is blurred and the headlights dull as Segall carries us through the different stages of Slaughterhouse. The fog thickens as the album progresses. Follow up track “I Bought My Eyes” signals a look back, which seems to project an acceptance of what has passed. Segall screams, “I was a rich man, I was a poor man, but now I will never know” which seems to find a way to move the listener into a confused comfort. As the pace condenses, a timer is set that paves a new path of musical thought. It serves as Segall’s last opportunity to ponder before the bomb’s timer reads zero. Although it is dimly lit, this track promotes a rebuild. This is a step away from the tragic scene of confusion towards a painful acceptance. The music is muffled, but after this track the road becomes clearer for the listener.
A fork in the road emerges as “Wave Goodbye” passes through the rotation. This is Segall’s sayonara scream that sounds like a doomsday escape subdued by a quiet comfort. Segall sings, “Soon I will find, the peace to get up, to wave goodbye, bye bye, bye bye.” As I listen to this track I begin to think about the difficulties that come with shutting the door and moving in another direction. Segall manages to use songs like “Wave Goodbye” to clear the smoke and pave the road for what is next. A new perception is offered with grave confidence. Segall’s step forward motivates those who need some guidance.
The delayed reaction to Slaughterhouse has been completely out of my control. Segall’s second release of 2012 came in blindsiding fashion. An explosion of themes left me numb while trying to wrap my thoughts around his latest project. Segall’s rapid increase of sound emits a new energy that shifts my thought process as I move into the second half of the year. This record serves as a rebuild and the final chapter of a past life’s pains. This new perception is guided by a fidelity that is lower than most…a beautiful explosion.
Written by Brett McGrath