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Ty Segall - Emotional Mugger

  by Erick Mertz

published: 10 / 4 / 2016

Ty Segall - Emotional Mugger
Label: Drag City
Format: CD


Obsessive yet disappointing garage rock on eighth album from much acclaimed Californian singer-songwriter, Ty Segall

Sometimes it feels silly to compare Ty Segall records. It’s almost as though the not yet thirty-year-old Laguna Beach singer/songwriter’s prolific nature defies the compulsion. Records come one after another, each recording becoming its own personality… Or perhaps better stated, it’s own personality disorder. On 'Emotional Mugger' Segall’s psychotic temptations lean decidedly toward obsessive, thirty-eight minutes of raw, often bursting garage rock, littered with bold predatory allusions to watching someone from afar, to bags of candy as bait, to the not so coy emotional manipulations we all drew out of afterschool special “stranger danger” logic. This is Segall’s eighth album and a further return to his noisy oeuvre after a brief interlude of mourning over his late father on 'Sleeper'. We feel his creeping persona emerge from the very first warm tones from the record, opening up with footsteps, jingling keys and a distinctly illicit sensation. That opener 'Squealer' is just as disturbing as the window dressing Segall gives his record, the sense all along that it’s coming up behind you, a track that does not lead. It follows. And it follows with intentions. An opposite overt quality describes 'Emotional Mugger/Leopard Priestess' which casts no illusions about being surreptitious, its fat bottomed chords and clumsy fisted production telling a different story. Look at me. Look at me, damn it. What draws me out of this Segall record though is the same element that always seems to pull me away from my embrace. His lyrics. They’re slapdash. These are the kinds of scribbled bits of druggy nonsense that always leaves me feeling that his work is rushed. I don’t need another didactic, tab A/slot B spin on 'American Pie' by Don McLean and I’m dying for something Burroughs-esque to resonate my poetic antenna but the refrain on 'Breakfast Eggs' which drones on, “Candy I want/your candy” is puerile, simplistic and begs me to skip the track. In fact, usually once I can figure out what words Segall is singing, I’m usually finished with his song. Of course, Segall is a brilliant songwriter and a master of the bombast that makes up his sound. He’s keen on following up his indulgences with his real strength, tour de force psychedelic-meets-California rock by way of heavy riffs like on 'Diversion', the boldest song on 'Emotional Mugger' and the one I’d cobble together with others and call his best. Segall is a bona fide performer. I like the lo-fidelity and garage rock scene more with him as a driving force. He sets two unique bars: on one hand that an artist should be driven and prolific, and the other, with a renegade creativity. Anyone who announces his record release by delivering a VHS tape to Pitchfork is mining the same pan cultural vein that tickles my imagination. But the promise of a new Segall record once again, far outstrips the joy of exploration and the delivery of something new.

Track Listing:-
1 Squealer
2 Californian Hills
3 Emotional Mugger/Leopard Priestess
4 Breakfast Eggs
5 Diversion
6 Baby Big Man (I Want a Mommy)
7 Mandy Cream
8 Candy Sam
9 Squealer Two
10 W.U.O.T.W.S.
11 The Magazine

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