Sego is a four-piece pop band based in LA. Apparently the band was originally a 2 piece of vocalist/guitarist Spencer Petersen and drummer Thomas Carroll. Those two are from Utah, and it turns out that Sego is the name of a ghost town in the high desert near their origin point in Provo.
The music that Sego makes is, well, Beck-damaged pop. This is sparkly bright, highly layered songs with lethargic, quirky vocals. But damn can they write a catchy tune. And the rhythms that drive this thing along are great.
The record kicks off with Neon Me Out which sets the stage for their song formula: on the verses, Petersen speaks in a kind of rhyming, stream-of-consciousness, stoner kind of way over music that is toe-tappingly catchy, and then on the choruses the song gets louder and the vocals are sung loudly, really emoting from the diaphragm. It's not a bad formula, and it works pretty well here.
Give Me is the halfway point between Sonic Youth and LCD Soundsystem -- the guitars are noisy and loud while the rhythm skips along with a deep groove as little samples loop lightly in the background. This song also brings in another common element on this record: non-sequiturs. At some point people begin chanting "USA" in the background. No real reason, itís not like any of the subject matter is patriotic, i think that they just do it for a sort of flow. Just like later in the song there are childrenís voices chanting "big fat money". This song is very random, and not their best work.
On Heart Attack Sego take us back to the grunge era as bassist Alyssa Davey cannels Josephine Wiggs on that first Breeders record. On the choruses the guitars are fuzzy and heavy like a lost Seattle area song from 1995. Not a bad tune.
So the first three songs are not bad. But the next three are stunning.
Shame starts off with Peterson saying, "I'm just like you, but lazy". The beat here is very electro, with a fat bass sound and clattering percussion. And then on the chorus, he strums the guitar a bit, the drums beat a might riff, and the band screams a call and response. Perfectly catchy.
They follow this up with Whatever Forever, a kind of stoner slacker Day in the Life as Peterson talks about things happening while his attitude is "whatever". Again, the choruses are so catchy here.
And then we have what is my favorite tune here, Sucker / Saint, it starts with a tense drum riff, and then Davey thumps out a catchy as hell bass riff as the whole song swings. On the bridge the band harmonizes like the Beatles for a moment. Nice. The way this song moves along is just wonderful.
On Anvil Hands it seems like Peterson is trying too hard to write "surrealistic lyrics". It's also a bit of a slower, more delicate song. My least favorite of the tunes here. It just feels like it never really gets going.
They go back to catchy on High Tide. The sound here is big -- huge roomy reverb that makes this sound like a Radio Hit, from the era when such things existed. (These guys would have been all over 99X back in the day...) The guitars are nicely jangly on the verses. Another fun one.
Sego get a slight Krautrock thing going on Buy Time, where they remind me, slightly of Maps & Atlases. The song is driven by a great bass riff and a nice steady motorik rhythm. However, on the choruses Peterson sings "All my friends are using drugs, like they own the neighborhood". And that stops me. "Own" a "neighborhood"? What a could that possibly mean? It wandered around in my brain for a while, tripping this song up, until i realized that he must mean like a Developer. I mean, Developers are disproportionally powerful, at least in Atlanta. Are they powerful in Utah as well? And you know, i bet they do in fact snort tons of coke. "Doing drugs like you own the neighborhood" i guess means to be a rich Developer not worried about anything because half the local politicians are taking kickbacks from you anyway... or, well, at least that is what it would mean from an Atlanta perspective. I wonder what is really meant here? The phrase sticks out to me as being too odd, too weird. It stops me, and messes with this song. Still, itís a very catchy tune.
And then Sego end the record with, of all things, a piano ballad. It's called Coming Home and, well, let's just say that i like them noisy and energetic more than i like them thoughtful and calm.
There is a lot to like on this record. It's a little messy and chaotic at times, but it is also joyful, exuberant, and fun.