Announced through the unusual approach of sending out in the post VHS tapes with the album dubbed on, Emotional Mugger is the latest work from the very busy Ty Segall. Seems it’s another 11 tracks of that delightful garage-pop sound, Ty leading from the front with high-pitched vocals and fuzzy guitar. LP, CD or cassette tape, on Drag City.
LP £16.99 DC628
LP on Drag City.
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CD £9.99 DC628CD
CD on Drag City.
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Tape £7.99 DC628CS
Tape on Drag City.
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Ty Segall constitutes one of those gaping failings in my understanding of garage rock ‘n’ psychedelia, mostly because I’m daunted by his triumphant back catalogue of several million albums, oddities, covers albums and, you know, so on. ‘Emotional Mugger’, though, is a lucid piece of guitar pop, full of fun and snark and sleuth. On this showing, the best thing about Segall is his ability to clown with his old-school genre constraints: “California Hills” winds up tempo and then clumsily releases it like a yo-yo, going from a slick rhythm to ludicrous, broken riffage. He somehow keeps the song sweet throughout all its intentional missteps, bringing it back in for harmonies and sorta-choruses.
Segall’s hot off his T-Rex covers record, so this one stinks of the same hard rock edge, full of old-school fills and solos that extend way beyond their halcyon days; it’s all tethered by a rhythm section that sounds kinda worried it’s carrying the team, bringing everything back to the centre so that it even gets the chance to blow out. On “Leopard Priestess” Segall wraps a squelchy riff around a sturdy drumbeat while moving between a higher pitch and a grumbly lower register, seemingly picking and choosing his state of mind as he goes. It’s a strange knack he’s got, being able to keep the unsteady steady, and vice versa if you’re up for it.
He’s also in a noisier mood, here, counterbalancing his “yea yea yeaaaa!” cornballing with swathes of picky distortion and busy electronic sounds (check the open of “Diversion”), or just abstracting for three solid minutes on “W.U.O.T.W.S.”, which has hints of Beefheart’s legacy in its attempt at being about four songs playing together, one after the other and also versus one another. What a wild ride -- now with seatbelts.
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