(7.5 out of 10)
Goodbye Bread is an album that unfolds almost imperceptibly. But by the time the eighth track, “Where Your Head Goes” comes along, you will almost certainly have noticed that the mood has evolved from the inward-looking lo-fi of the opening title track and into something darker, more full-bodied and electric.
This sonic diversity isn’t a new thing for Ty Segall, but the way that Goodbye Breadreveals itself shows a marked increase in thoughtfulness when compared to the San Francisco psychedelic songwriter’s previous five albums. Not that Segall decided to make Goodbye Bread some sort of concept album, but there’s a definite tightening of the screws here, and much less of a sense that the entire affair will go careening off the rails at any moment.
The way Segall has always — both on his solo records and his sundry full-band work — touched on various styles is evidence of his love for the DIY spirit of garage rock and the deep and weird legacy of decades of Bay Area musicians before him. However, his execution of those styles has always been as unique as it has been a little bit half-assed. On Goodbye Bread, there’s no sense of the latter. Sure, Segall’s voice is still a weak and warbly instrument, and his guitar playing — even at its most forcefully imitative of his mentor, Thee Oh Sees’ John Dwyer — has yet to explode with the power he clearly wants it to. But the honest and personality-rich vibe he gives to a knuckle-dragging bit of boogie-rock like “You Make the Sun Fry” or the snarling simplicity of “California Commerical” somehow manages to make those songs as arresting and unique as more traditional and jangly lo-fi numbers like “Fine.”
First appeared June 21, 2011 in Paste.