Garage Rocker Ty Segall Challenges With Menacing Sound on ‘Emotional Mugger’: Album Review

Ty Segall
Album Review
3

Ty Segall hasn’t been himself lately: On 2013’s Sleeper the habitually noisy California garage rocker got unplugged and personal, while 2014’s Manipulator was a psychedelic odyssey. On both, however, pretty prevailed. Emotional Mugger is meaner and weirder, arriving with a creepy website and hotline that suggest somewhere in these 11 tracks is a concept of some sort: a story about candy, maybe, or the characters found in blown-out stoner jams “Mandy Cream” and “Candy Sam.” The sound -- crushing proto-metal augmented by anxious keyboards -- is a discomfiting twist on the familiar for Segall. It has its rewards, though: “Squealer” is Devo doing “Smoke on the Water,” while “Squealer Two” charms with a funky earthworm of a synth line. Less appealing are the electronic shrieks of “The Magazine,” which suggest a dolphin panic attack. Neither a departure nor a return to Segall’s usual fuzzy form, Emotional Mugger asks a lot from the listener, and it doesn’t always ask nicely.