By Wes Clary
Artist: Ty Segall
Album: Emotional Mugger
Label: Drag City
Release Date: January 22, 2016
Coming through with his eighth studio album, multi-instrumentalist Ty Segall creates a loud rock record to kick off 2016. With his first release in two years, Emotional Mugger is an oddball album that has a variety of sounds ranging from the psychedelic pop groups of the 60’s, California garage rock, and noise rock. The songs are loud and filled with feedback and raw instrumentation but carry with them very catchy choruses and soothed down by Segall’s John Lennon like voice. Emotional Mugger is clearly meant to be played at high volume with its ear piercing guitar solos and lofi production. Segall is credited as a producer as well with guitar, bass guitar, and drums throughout.
The album kicks off with the fist pumping intro, “Squealer” that sounds as if the Velvet Underground merged with Tame Impala for a track. We continue on with highlights that include the heavy “Diversion” and the catchy “Candy Sam”. Before his solo act, Segall started playing with various bands in the San Francisco Bay area. Segall doesn’t seemed to have run out of any ideas 8 years into his recording career. The eleven tracks fire off one after another, rarely ever hitting the 4 minute mark. The closing track, “The Magazine”, is a fitting album closer. Segall incorporates clapping into the track and it is as if it’s the applause coming from the audience that has just sat through the entire record.
Segall uniquely promoted his album by sending it via VHS to various music writers including Pitchfork prior to its release. At first listen, a VHS or cassette would seem like an appropriate medium because of the grittiness of the production. We have access to perfect sounding mediums, but it’s albums like this that you want on vinyl or cassette to hear the rawness of the sound. Compared to one of 2014’s best, the epic double album Manipulator, Mugger may not be the stand out record in Segall’s discography but sure does not disappoint and will be remembered when the critics best of lists come out at the end of the year. And to the average listener, the sound at times may come off as repetitive, but it is Segall’s catchy songwriting and guitar playing that make up for it. Mugger is one of those albums that goes well at the party and turned up to eleven.