Ty Segall, “Emotional Mugger”
Beloved lo-fi mastermind Ty Segall’s seventieth album—or so it might seem considering the artist’s prodigious output since he first announced himself from Orange County almost a decade ago—rumbles and squawks its way to our ears this month, a raucous blast of energy to help combat the winter doldrums. Emotional Mugger is actually Segall’s eighth release in as many years (ninth if you add in his Ty Segall Band’s Slaughterhouse album), and it delivers familiar doses of Segall’s garage-based rock, laced with generous lashings of Captain Beefheart–esque weirdness and space-age noodling that pays homage to his cherished Hawkwind.
Things start off innocently enough with the ’60s-tinged pop psychobilly of “Squealer” (a reprise of which occurs later in the LP with “Squealer Two”), and continues until midway through the second track, “Californian Hills,” where all sonic hell breaks loose. Who needs tempos or melody anyway? Yet by song’s end, we’re back on solid and steady musical ground. Thus the core of Emotional Mugger is revealed and, like any emotional entanglement, it demands our attention while also keeping us at arm’s length. The album drops us off gently with the easily digestible “The Magazine,” for which, after the noise gyrations that preceded it, we’re grateful, all emotions having been resolved.