It’s common knowledge that one only had to step outside and take a deep breath in San Francisco in the late Sixties to get high, but it would seem there’s still something pretty potent in the water that flows under the Golden Gate Bridge. Like fellow garage-rockers Thee Oh Sees, the Bay City underground scene’s biggest star Ty Segall is incredibly prolific: in the space of just four years, he has released in excess of twenty solo and collaborative LPs, EPs, non-album singles and splits (with Thee aforementioned Oh Sees, Black Time, Superstitions, Jeff The Brotherhood and Mikal Cronin) that have seen the young upstart progress from lo-fi, fuzzed-up takes on Nuggets-style psychedelic proto-punk to… well, slightly less lo-fi and more melodic takes on the same psychedelic proto-punk. Amazingly, very little of this hefty body of work is less than great fun, which makes the news that Segall is planning to put out two more solo albums this year pretty exciting; before those, though, comes Hair, a Drag City-released team-up with like-minded L.A. comrade Tim Presley, AKA White Fence. Himself something of a workaholic (four albums of White Fence material in just over two years, alongside releases from his other projects Darker My Love and the Strange Boys), Presley also draws on the sounds of the Flower Power era, but comes down harder on the side of acid-fried paisley pop troubadours like Ray Davies and Donovan, and the pairing of his more whimsically surreal musings with Segall’s raw, aggressive energy results in a gloriously messy fusion that is more gleeful homage than tired throwback. Because although “(I Can’t) Get Around You” could pass for a lost Arthur Lee demo and the kaleidoscopic, organ-driven “I Am Not A Game” sounds for all the world like a speed-fuelled jam session between Ray Manzarek and the Sonics, both parties – with assistance from auxhiliary guitarist Cronin – inject a healthy dose of thoroughly modern mischief. The bluesy “Scissor People” accelerates into a pulsing, motorik climax, whilst the funky Sgt Pepper-era Beatles groove of “Tongues” is sabotaged by some ear-splitting guitar squall; “Crybaby”, meanwhile, starts as a loose approximation of T-Rex’s stomping glam rock before devolving into a discordant jumble of boogie-woogie piano abuse. It’s an album of fun, flyaway freak-outs, and a more than worthy addition to both artists’ already-bulging catalogues.
Hair is out April 24 on Drag City. Listen to “I Am Not A Game” below: