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I have conflicting feelings about Ty Segall. On one hand, I wish he were better recognized so the whole world could appreciate his genius songwriting and incredible, versatile musical chops (he sings, plays guitar, and occasionally takes a turn on the drums—all with incredible skill). But another part of me can’t help but want his music to stay a little secret in the garage/psych/lo-fi pop world, to be known only among those who are savvy enough to seek out the finest in tunes. In reality, he’s somewhere in the middle, treading out of relative obscurity thanks to some high-profile features on NPR, Pitchfork, and the like.

Well, may the hype continue—Manipulator is #@$%ing awesome. After last year’s subdued LP Sleeper, Manipulator picks up with the more raucous flavor that we last heard on Twins. But where Twins was a messy garage-pop album, Manipulator is a polished, sweeping, psych-rock opus. From the dramatic organ intro to the album’s title track to the grumbling bass line on “It’s Over”, every detail of Manipulator is finely engineered to rock. But the slower moments are just as good, like “The Singer”, where Ty’s quiet sneer and sky-high falsetto are vaguely Bowie-esque.

Personally, I’m digging the shrill sneers and thrashing power chords of “It’s Over” and the whiny melody of “The Faker”, along with “The Singer” and the album’s most garage-pop track, “Susie Thumb”, but can you really go wrong with any of these songs? (No.) After all, the groundwork for this album is Ty’s great songwriting, which is what has and will continue to set him apart to his modern garage-rocking brethren.It’s funny how Manipulator is “just another album” in the Ty Segall catalog, but for another artist, this would be a best-of compilation.

Get it now at your favorite local record store or via Drag City.

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