Ty Segall Extends a Tense Greeting on 'Hello, Hi'

BY Anthony BoirePublished Jul 21, 2022

Ty Segall has spent more than a decade exploring new nooks and crannies of garage rock, and he has defied expectations once again. His most prominent recent outings, Freedom's Goblin and Harmonizer, were complimentary shards of rock music falling apart and locking together, respectively. Hello, Hi is a tense marriage of the harmonious comforts of domesticity, while something fierce rages just outside the kitchen window.

Promoted as a back-to-basics effort in the vein of his mournful early career tearjerker Sleeper, Segall now simmers and soothes when he slows down. He's thrown away some rules. 

Opening tracks "Good Morning," "Cement" and "Over" weave woozy acoustic riffs as Ty croons wonderfully over everything. However, it's on the title track that he lets loose. "Hello, Hi" is a massive, fuzzed-out classic instantly recognizable as the man who penned "Thank God for the Sinners." He's got to keep everyone guessing, so it's only fitting that he mixes in some of the warmest, richest sounding acoustic guitar recordings ever made with the grossest thumper he's ever snarled. These light strums can lull the unaware into a haze, but the blue notes hint at something stalking from just out of sight — until it finally explodes on the title track and the harrowing guitar-centric "Looking at You."

Ty wants to be at ease at home, in love, and blissfully married, but he's still the closest thing to a rock legend to the indie scene in 2022. Danger still lurks around each corner of the record, until "Saturday Pt. 1" and single "Saturday Pt. 2" threaten to implode the very idea of a relaxing weekend on the couch. The warbling low end of Ty's voice has never sounded so sinister as on the former, until stressed out George Harrison-esque guitar pluckings give way to the full-band '60s bliss of "Pt. 2." There are talks of fearfully peering out the windows, and something else peering its way back into the "play" that Ty invites the listener to take part in on "Saturday." This record is on the verge of a panic attack from smoking an unfamiliar strain. "G-O-O-D-N-I-T-E" he creepily spells out near the end of closer, "Distraction," tipping his hat to Tiny Tim. Thanks for that, Ty. 

Hello, Hi is a course correction from an artist in his prime, taking a break from the Let It Be sounds he has been employing lately to hit us all a little closer to home. Exquisitely recorded (Segall might have picked up a few more tricks for his already considerable bag from Steve Albini, who had produced recent efforts) and inviting while still being mysterious, Ty Segall has another excellent stripped-down "folk" record to add to his (extremely) extensive discography.
(Drag City)

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