The CIA is the sixth Ty Segall album of 2018, if you count all of his various projects. Unfortunately, it is also the sixth best Ty Segall album of 2018. Following three sets under his own name – the wonderfully sprawling Freedom’s Goblin, the exuberant covers record Fudge Sandwich and the cassette-only Orange Rainbow – as well as albums with White Fence and GØGGS, the CIA is a collaboration with his wife, Denée Segall, and Emmett Kelly, a member of his touring band. While his music normally draws heavily on Nuggets-era garage and psych rock, these drum-machine-propelled songs are more indebted to the angry squall of riot grrrl, as Denée’s holler takes centre stage – but that’s not always for the best. The lurching Sedition is a case in point, her vocal line too closely stalking its jarring riff; Oblivion, meanwhile, is a less thrilling Perfect Pussy. The tempo slows on Power, with curious results: the deadpan delivery and downtuned heaviness together sound like Nico intoning mildly scary poetry while a doom-laden Black Sabbath riff and Bontempi rhythm tangle incongruously in the background. This isn’t a terrible record by any means – and at just 20 minutes it’s admirably succinct – but it leaves the listener with a definite sense that Ty Segall might be overstretching himself.
The CIA: The CIA review – the year’s sixth best Ty Segall album
(In the Red)
Phil Mongredien works on the Guardian's opinion desk. He also reviews albums for Q magazine