Album Review: Ty Segall – Emotional Mugger

By Devon Hannan, Contributor

[Drag City; 2016]

Rating: 4/5

Key Tracks: “Divergent,” “Candy Sam”

The king of controlled chaos is at it again. If there is an artist that has mastered the act of hitting an audience with something that they’ve never heard before, it’s Ty Segall. Just when you think that his music can’t get any weirder, Ty is always right there to prove you wrong. This trend is maintained by his newest album, Emotional Mugger.

The album features some of Segall’s catchiest (“Breakfast Eggs”), heaviest guitar riffs in his entire discography and even weirder vocals, while still undoubtedly sounding like a Ty Segall album. Emotional Mugger starts off on the right foot with “Squealer”, a track that serves as an eclectic segue to the magic that is about to unfold. While there is something to be said about every track on the album, “Divergent” definitely earns the title of the sickest guitar solo on any of his albums to date. “Candy Sam” is another highlight–along with diverse vocalization, it eventually fades into something you could hear from his singer-songwriter alter ego.

Emotional Mugger carries a theme throughout many of its tracks. “Candy” is expressed frequently, yet it doesn’t contain one definitive meaning. This is an interesting thematic choice for Segall, as the album suggests anything but innocence.

The record’s only major shortcoming comes in the form of its final third. While it contributes to the ‘other-worldly weird’ aesthetic Segall is aiming for, it may be taken as just a bit too much. While “Magazine” offers a lift from the loud, noisy components of the album, it may have contributed more to the record if it was placed anywhere else but dead last. Truth be told, most of the album’s best moments are located right in the middle of the tracklist.

Emotional Mugger highlights exactly what Ty Segall is known for: pushing the envelope and creating fantastic content. Although it may be hard to believe, cumulatively his mess of instrumentation really does work–and it works well. Emotional Mugger many not seal the deal as his best album, but that’s always up for debate. It’s certainly an album worth a listen. Or maybe 20.

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