- by Joseph Majsterski Rating:6 Release Date:2016-01-22 Label: Drag City
Ty Segall just keeps cranking out music. After releasing an album every year for seven straight (along with tons of EPs, singles, and side releases), he just barely missed the cut for 2015 with his latest, Emotional Mugger. It's a jangling, messy set, rambling around in sometimes familiar, sometimes bizarre musical realms.
It begins well enough with the straightforward indie rocker, "Squealer", with heavy shades of the White Stripes in its lo-fi guitar crunches. Their influence throughout the album is strong. That's followed up by the rather out there "W.U.O.T.W.S.", which sounds like a Beck outtake from the 90s, or even the old Beatles' tune "Revolution 9". And with those two songs, the outline of the rest of the album is in place. It meanders back and forth across the border between powerful, cracking little jams, and splattering, barely coherent noise fests.
"Diversion" is one of the better tunes in the set, a gritty, grimey rocker full of hooks. It leads with a big old blast, a classic wall of guitar that shakes the rafters. "Mandy Cream" is another strong song, with a spitting, sputtering guitar that'll have your head bobbing in time. And both those songs include odd flourishes that add nice texture.
But other songs cross the border and don't work as well, like "Baby Big Man (I Want a Mommy)", with its atonal intro and off-kilter rhythms. "The Magazine" suffers from a split personality, neither of which is particularly appealing. The first half of the song has scratching, whining effects with a borderline falsetto, while the back end just breaks down into guitar wanking and then mostly feedback and random noises.
And Segall seems a bit obsessed with candy, with at least three songs either mentioning it or having the word in the title. "Breakfast Eggs", another solid guitar-driven rock song, goes on and on about wanting your candy. And "Candy Sam", while beginning in the same vein as many of the tracks here, has an awesome outro of acoustic guitar, whistling, and kids singing. More experimentation in that direction could have strengthened the set by giving it more variety.
The album ends well with "Squealer Two", a slightly less raucous song that doesn't try to blow the doors off the hinges quite as much, slowing things down and finding a groove. It does live up to its name at the very end, with Segall brining back the falsetto and chanting "squealer man" over and over as it fades out.
This isn't a bad set, but I wouldn't call it a daily driver that you'll want to hear all the time. Still, for someone as prolific as Segall, it's solid enough and worth a few listens.
I love this, I think it might be his best album.