Published Mar 27, 2019If there's one thing you can count on with a record Steve Albini worked on, it's an unashamedly authentic look at the artist in question. The famed recording engineer's work with artists like PJ Harvey, Nirvana and the Pixies have resulted in some of the purest distillations of each artist's musical persona.
With Deforming Lobes, a live record from Ty Segall and his Freedom Band, we get a chance to hear the group in perhaps the most authentic way: in the same room, on a stage, in front of a crowd. It's a raw, warts-and-all performance, with some moments of pure, in-the-moment discovery, and some other moments that just pass by without making much of an impression.
While the band's live renditions of "Squealer," "Breakfast Eggs," "The Crawler" and "They Told Me Too" all don't pass the three-minute mark, Segall and company take their time with lengthy versions of "Warm Hands" and a revved-up "Love Fuzz," leaving plenty of time for extended jams. Particularly on "Love Fuzz," the band use these jams as opportunities to venture out and see what they can create.
With tons of soloing from Segall and guitarist Emmett Kelly, often at the same time, the band take every opportunity, even on the shorter tracks, to examine every ounce of their set list with new, unbound curiosity.
Segall's past output with this lineup has proven there's tons of talent on that stage, and when they're operating on the same wavelength, they are a powerhouse live. At their best, the band use these chances to explore in moments of pure creativity. At their worst, they meander aimlessly, the live music equivalent of listening in on a conversation that was never really that interesting to begin with. (Drag City)