Primary Ties is the debut album from Perth multi-instrumentalist Jeremy Segal, aka Segue. Segal dropped the wistful ‘Safari’ from the band’s name and in doing so has taken a mature, conceptual and more daring step forward whilst honing the sound.
If you are in the market for glittery, guitar-led medicine for your ears and heart, Primary Ties is for you. With standout songs like Growing Pains, Primary Ties, Blood Reflections and Gloves Off showcasing Segal’s knack of creating the most understated, under-your-skin melodies, beautiful tones and dream like indie soundscapes. For someone who is only 22 years old, Primary Ties is certainly a mature piece of work, often having the feeling of being made by an old soul or perhaps just someone who knows themselves, their sound and their strengths extremely well.
Primary Ties is an album in the truest sense of the word; a cohesive and conceptual collection of songs that have been thoroughly thought out and organically lead and bleed into each other. And by the way – conceptual in this case refers to an album that has been written, recorded, produced and mixed by Segal himself, making Primary Ties a true directional project. With personal and musical self-exploration at its core, it’s an album where Segal has owned and imagined every crevice and then worked it all into a tidy package with great craftsmanship.
Within Primary Ties’ rather encapsulated and well-defined genre there is still a lot of range in the songs, from tracks like the Bowie-esque album title Primary Times to the charming Matter of Age, the shoegazing Operation Poltergeist and the rockier Wake up/Make up. The songs are essentially melancholy indie pop numbers that have been individually prepared with their own coat of originality and musicianship and varnished with optimism and deceptive simplicity.
Although a subtle and delicate album where much of the beauty is in the detail and the shaded difference, Primary Ties still peaks and troughs, making you want to keep on listening and see around the bend. And it’s important you do, because upon each new listen there are more and more nuances to uncover, whether it be warbling guitar, effects, reverb, unexpected key changes or catchy, oscillating melodies and clever lyrics – or just the sheer understated catchiness of the whole thing, you’re likely to enjoy it more the more you listen to it.
While a lot of the album is made up of sweet sounds and Segal’s honeyed vocals, there is enough discord in the lyrics and themes, nifty guitar work, off-kilter processions and imaginative orchestration to ensure the album has effect, grit and charisma.
Primary Ties doesn’t overreach, it knows it’s place and what it is trying to achieve, however, perhaps it would have been nice to see it pushed just a little bit more? Just to make it that little bit more dynamic. But hey – Segal is only 22, there is plenty of time for that.
All in all, Segal has produced an alternative pop album that has both enthralling hooks and ear pulling inventiveness, thanks to great musical finesse, dexterity and a knack for writing catchy tunes. You can’t help but wonder just what Segal is capable of throughout his still very long musical career. If Primary Ties is anything to go by, we are all in for a treat.