Album Reviews Music

Ty Richards Releases “Welcome to Flat Earth”

Austin-based Ty Richards released his sophomore album, “Welcome to Flat Earth,” on April 20. He premiered it at an album release show hosted at Mosaic Sound Collective.

Ty Richards

“Welcome to Flat Earth” is the follow-up to Richards’s 2017 debut, “Zillion.” The new album contains 8 tracks and runs about 30 minutes. The length of the album, as well as the up-tempo sound of most of the songs, make it the perfect music for cardio exercise, spending time outdoors, or other fun activities.

The album definitely has a political lean with an emphasis on satire, as you may be able to tell from the title. Richards himself said, “‘Welcome to Flat Earth’ is jokingly named after the growing Flat Earth Theory movement of the present day. Over time though, the title and the vibe of the record as a whole has come to represent a much deeper theme in humanity – why do we trust authority?”

In fact, the album opens with a track entitled “IndoctriNation,” which leads in with an old orchestral recording, followed by a voice recording about propaganda that sounds as if it were pulled from an educational film in the 1950s. Songs with an obvious political lean include “Western Chauvinist,” a patriotic lo-fi rock tune that opens with a primal scream, and “Red Pill,” a slower and more rhythmic track that features an instrumental set at the end.

The catchiest song is “Killjoy,” which has a more traditional indie rock sound and a great beat; it’s something that could be easily commercialized, for better or worse. “Welcome to Flat Earth” also contains an interesting cover of The Kinks’s “All Day and All of the Night” which is immediately familiar, but not immediately recognizable as that song.
Throughout the album, Richards uses synth for both new wave and chiptune sounds, to great effect. The whole thing sounds like a throwback to the 1980s with some experimental and noise rock thrown in. “This collection of songs was recorded directly to a lo-fi reel-to-reel tape machine from the early ’80s. The same model, Tascam 388, was used by Prince to create demos, and is featured on the early records of The Black Keys and Dr. Dog,” according to Richards, so it’s no wonder that it has that vibe.

If all of that sounds like something you’d be into – if you like punk, indie rock and ’80s synth – you can now buy or stream “Welcome to Flat Earth” wherever you get your music. 

UPDATE: Since Austin radio station KUTX has gotten complaints about the lyrics in “Western Chauvinist” and subsequently stopped playing the single, Ty Richards has refused to state whether or not the song is, in fact, satire. He also appeared on the podcast of white nationalist Gavin McInnes. We cannot say more than anyone else what Ty Richards’s views are, but they are presented in the above article as they were at the time of the album’s release.

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