Ty Segall

Emotional Mugger

Drag City

Jan 18, 2016 Issue # 56 - Best of 2015 - Father John Misty and Wolf Alice Bookmark and Share


"No man is good three times" reads the sticker that adorns the cover of Ty Segall's latest full-length solo record, Emotional Mugger. It's the mantra that was at the heart of the reaction to Franklin D. Roosevelt's controversial victory in the 1944 U.S. Presidential election. One of his many projects, Fuzz, released a record in fall 2015 which fell on relatively uninterested ears given that Segall's something of a critics' darling. With Emotional Mugger, Segall's immersed himself fully in his freak garage psych niche to great effectone man is good many times, it would seem.

The album was "announced" via a VHS tape sent to music journalists, prompting rumours that the album would be a VHS-only release, which turned out not to be true. The unveiling of the album continued to be cryptic, its press release consisting of an absurdist poem and a redirection to a clip in which Segall explains the concept of Emotional Mugging ("a psychoanalytic subject-to-subject exchange formed as a response to our hyper-digital sexual landscape").

Every song on the record relies on frenzied synth and Theremin freakouts to accompany the ever present Zeppelin-esque guitar shredding that serves as his blueprint, his garage rock roots being almost intruded upon by these hectic compositions that owe more to Merzbow or Masonna than Jimmy Page. Emotional Mugger feels like one third sarcasm and two thirds complete genius; "the papers say we're going to hell," he warns on the brooding "California Hills," and you can almost hear his wry sarcastic smile. "W.U.O.T.W.S" makes every other oddball psych coup that the Californian has crafted sound like Lighthouse Familyyou could almost imagine John Dwyer suggesting a little more clarity.

Friend and collaborator Tim Presley of White Fence hit his artistic highpoint last year with the brilliantly strange "WX" moniker, and the same can be said of Segall. He's at his strangest, loud, absurd best. With his ninth studio album under the Ty Segall guise alone since 2008, he both parodies and masterclasses modern day garage rock. (www.emotionalmugger.com)

Author rating: 8.5/10

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