Few artists can claim to be as prolific as Ty Segall. Over the past decade, he’s released nine studio albums under his own name, two as the drummer and vocalist of Fuzz and collaboration LPs with Mikal Cronin and White Fence – and that’s without mentioning the countless other projects he’s been involved in. And yet he continues to put out album after album, surprise after surprise, winning over audiences on both sides of the Atlantic with his raw, intense energy, blended with stoner-metal vibes and ‘70s glam rock inspiration.
His ninth solo album in eight years, ‘Emotional Mugger’ is no different - 38 minutes of noisy garage rock; a wild, messy rollercoaster ride of an album. Although a darker affair than predecessor ‘Manipulator,’ his latest offering of heavily experimental, ear-melting psych rock will no doubt please devout fans of the artist.
For this album, Segall has shied away from conventional promotional techniques – instead opting to send out initial review copies of the album on VHS tape, setting up a hotline for fans to call (1-800-281-2968 FREE: give it a go), and releasing a PSA in which he described the concept of the album: "Emotional mugging is a psychoanalytic subject-to-subject exchange formed as a response to our hyper-digital sexual landscape."
From opening track ‘Squealer’ - full of Segall’s signature wailing guitars, grungy vocals and off-beat drums, with the odd, wild guitar solo – to sequel ‘Squealer Two,’ his stoner-metal fuzz never fails to impress. Title track ‘Emotional Mugger / Leopard Priestess’ is one of the more listenable songs, a screeching, riff-dominated number, although its length is challenging at 5:21.
‘Diversion’ is a roaring wall of scuzzy hard rock, a grungy, guitar-solo filled homage to Marc Bolan, with wailing cries of "Diversion / I’m back, I’m back, I’m back" anchored by the drumming of The Melvins’ Dale Crover. ‘W.U.O.T.W.S’ takes ‘Diversion’ and flips it on its head, feeding it through a stream of static and white noise, descending into a tangle of feedback and angst.
Although many have complained that this album is too inaccessible, it doesn’t feel out of place in Segall’s extensive back catalogue, sitting comfortably alongside ‘Fuzz II’ and ‘Manipulator.’ Despite at times being muddled, Segall is not afraid to stand up and confront the audience, evoking the most visceral of feelings and pushing the boundaries of comfort. Divisive, but all the more brilliant for it.
Words: Megan White
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