As the sun sets on 2014 and the dawn of the new year fast approaches, the inevitable end of year lists start appearing as pretty much every music outlet espouses what they consider to be the “BEST” videos, tracks and, of course, albums of the past 12 months. There’s nothing wrong with this – a decent albums list can be informative, entertaining and turn your ears on to some amazing music you might not have otherwise heard. And let’s face it, there have been some amazing albums released over the course of 2014. KP towers has been lucky enough to have new music from the likes of Hospitality, Cheatahs, Field Mouse, Samaris, Tape Waves and Trash Kit gracing the office speakers.
But we aren’t going to put together a massive list of albums and make you read/quickly scroll through it to find out what we deem to be the BEST… why bury the lead, right?
So, without further ado, the Killer Ponytail album of 2014 is… U2 – Songs of Innocence! Nah. It’s Ty Segall – Manipulator, and here’s why:
As any prolific artist will tell you, it’s hard to keep your game up when you’re producing so much music, but Ty Segall seems to have outdone himself with Manipulator. The album was written and recorded over the course of a year and stands as the most coherent work Segall has ever produced.
Manipulator is a journey – a trip – from the swirling psych tinged opener of the title track to the blistering, riff laden mountains of tracks like “Feel” and “The Crawler” inhabited by rapidly infectious beats and frighteningly fuzzed-up guitars. And the swampy, sludgy sounds of songs like “The Connection Man” and “Who’s Producing You” have an invariable habit of sticking to your brain and refusing to leave. The fact that Manipulator is a concept album, telling a loose story of a lady called Suzy Thumb (a character entirely conceived in Segall’s mind), also goes to show how impressive the album’s construction is. In the case of the concept album, there’s usually a pay off between the quality of the songs and the need for the narrative arc to fit into the overall structure, but Segall hasn’t compromised on either counts on Manipulator, the songs are as strong as the story they support.
Manipulator is not only the best psych-rock record we’ve heard all year, it’s the best album of 2014. Period.