4 February 2016

Ty Segall - Emotional Mugger

Ty Segall is an artist that I have not came across, this is despite the fact he has been going since 2008 and this is his eighth release.  After a quick glance into his past activities, he is from Laguna Beach has links with Coachwhips, is a past member of Sic Alps, The Perverts, Party Fowls amongst others, he is also currently a member of Fuzz, Broken Bat and GØGGS.  He is a producer, constantly moving and looking for new things to do.  As stated at the beginning I am a total novice to the activities of this man, so this might be the blankest canvas that his music has ever been exposed to; so why have I picked it up? To be honest, it wasn't even my usual game of cover roulette; I just picked a name out of a Mojo (UK rock magazine) and went for it, just to break out of the routine I have got stuck in.  But enough about me, time to see how this album sounds and if it is a scary as that freaky cover (I hate dolls, I blame Chucky from the Child Play films).

“Squealer” introduces this album after a small quantity of background noise and a slamming of a door; one the music starts it is a lo-fi, dirt ball track that has tones of Beck, Iggy Pop, David Bowie and Sparklehorse to the sound.  The sound is one that works at its best when played as loud as possible, but the song itself is a pleasant surprise for the Ty Segall novice such as myself; it has been a long time since a band or artist has given me reason to smile in the same way as this song and as the random feedback at the end fades out, you will have already made up your mind for the rest of the album.  Personally, it is a great opening which warrant further investigation of the album.  “Californian Hills” starts off incredible loose and free, with a touch of a loose jam to the sound; this is in direct contrast to the bridge and ending pieces of the album when the music shifts up a gear and sounds as if the band are aiming to play faster and faster; the shift between the pace might catch you off guard at first, but after that first listen it is what lynches the song down and when the song reaches maximum velocity at the end, you will be banging your head along at the same speed towards irreparable neck damage – worth it, totally worth it.  “Emotional Mugger/Leopard Priestess” follows on and feels as if you are getting your breath back after the upheaval at the end of “Californian Hills”.  It has a basic, but effective drum sequence going on throughout the song that give the guitars and bass freedom to wonder.  There is a distinct section between the two halves of the song where the tone of the guitars changes and sound develops a sexy sound which was not present in the first section of the song; both parts are effective in what they set out to achieve and it improves with subsequent listens.

“Breakfast Edge” is a noise track that will appeal to fans of The Fall, Beck and basically anyone who wants their music to be a little scruffy.   It is a short burst of looping guitar riffs, sharp drumming, fuzzy bass, a set of lyrics that can be left opened to interpretation and the vocal delivery that reminds me of old school rock & roll given a new twist.  I really like this song, it might not be one of the most original I have heard in the world, but it is one of those songs that works in spite of its limitations as it is just a simple rock song and that is something that is becoming a sadly rare commodity these days.  “Diversion” is a larger than life song, that bass sound pulses through the speakers with such force that it will hit you in the chest at his live shows.  The song is another song which works on simple principles; looping riff, loud bass and drums, a strange set of lyrics and it is all wrapped up in a sonic boom of sound, tension and failed love.  Upon my first spin of this album, this was the song that stood out the most and it is one of the best songs on the album.  It keeps giving the same level of enjoyment and that simple (but effective) solo at the end just shows how much confidence there is behind the music at this point of the album.  “Baby Big Man (I Want a Mummy)” is a fucked up tune, no two ways about it.  It has a strong dose of psychedelic sound added to the mix which rests on the music more than the vocals here, which are kept much lower in the mix than on previous numbers on the album.  It is a number that I have struggled with the most, but it is also one that does get better as each time you come back to it; but it might be one that some people who skip over.  “Mandy Cream” is the next song on the album, with a sound that sounds like T-Rex, Led Zeppelin and Beck jamming out to create a new sound, Ty Segall has created a song which will please rocker, indie fans, lo-fi enthusiasts and hipsters equally; there is basically something for everyone on this song and it is one of the more accessible number on the album.

“Candy Sam” has a hard rock tone, mixing lower and shouting vocals in with a child’s sing along towards the end as the song twists and turns along the way.  It is a song that deserves to be played as loud as possible, seriously it needs to be at maximum volume as this is where it works the best.  The ending is one of those that will hook in your brain for hours to come after it has finished and the solo that happens is also spectacular – the sarcastic noise at the end just made me laugh out loud.  “Squealer Two” has a heavy dose of funk added to the sound as it of the original “Squealer”, taking an idea and running in a completely different direction to its namesake from the beginning of the album.  Naturally one would compare the two tracks, but there is no point if I am honest; both are fantastic and (for what it is worth) I find this one to be the better of the two, it just seems to have a better hook in the bass and that is the one that stood out the first time I listened to the album, it is still one of the best songs in this album and there is a hell of a lot of them.  The penultimate song though, that is just a strange beast.  “W.U.O.T.W.S.” is a random noise track which takes pieces of pervious numbers, puts them in a blender, brings them in and out of focus, smashes them up again and it sounds like a radio being detuned as you start to focus on one thing and it all of a sudden is replaced by another without by or leave.  Upon first listen, it is confusing and out there; but being well versed in noise it was making sense straight away for me, with further listens it made a hell of a lot more sense as it twists and turns towards its dramatic change, going to an acoustic track and ending with a sharp silence, I love it and it is completely fucked up.  All good things must sadly come to an end, this is the case with this album and the finale comes in the form of “The Magazine”.  It is another song that is bass heaven, lo-fi joy that has formed the major focus of this album and it does not give you one moment of comfort, sense of repentance or sign of sorrow; you are here to either get on board or be left behind in bemusement.  The song is the slowest of the album, giving it a sinister edge as time is ticking down and it is a fitting ending to this album – unrepentant.

I love this, I love this, I love this – during my writers block it has been the album that has given me the most and been one I have wanted to review since I first heard, it is one of those albums which rarely come along and it is a game changer.  It is going against the popular music scene and not giving a second thought to what else is going on around it, that is what bands should do at the best of time, but sometimes it is not the case.  It is a brave record that might not make it to everyone, but it will be one that will be noted as one of the most important albums of 2016 which makes me so happy that I have the previous seven to listen to; it might be a few years before it receives the praise that it rightly deserves for the great unwashed, but it will get it as it is unflinching, uncompromising and fierce.  If you are wanting something different from the usual pack of indie heart throbs, beard wearing hipster synth players and usual suspects – get this one.

9.5 out of ten - Almost perfect, almost.....

Top track - Californian Hills

You can purchase Emotional Mugger on Amazon here

You can visit the Ty Segall website here

You can follow the activities of Ty Segall on Facebook here

At the time of writing, this album is not available on Tidal, Spotify, etc.  But you really want to purchase it anyway.

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