Ty Segall is unstoppable. Releasing new music at an alarming rate, the young shredder has no shortage of things to say and noise to make. In fact, on the heels of his new record Emotional Mugger comes a new release from California quartet Audacity, produced by Segall. This is the norm for him, as his is a name that continues to pop up everywhere and, lucky for listeners, it’s not likely he’ll slow down any time soon. Emotional Mugger is Segall’s 10th – yes, 10th! – solo record, and in the vein of most things Segall-related, is chaotic, and this time with far less control. Segall’s sound can be challenging to those who lack an appreciation for fuzz, and Emotional Mugger is particularly fuzzy and perplexing. It has an uninhibited, experimental quality to it that may abandon a few fans of his last record, the magnificent Manipulator.
Emotional Mugger has no shortage of Segall’s catchy pop sensibility, but it seems to relish in being more unhinged. Opener “Squealer” is menacing, but it has a smooth seventies groove to it and plenty of face-melting, trippy guitar solos to get lost in. And “California Hills” is sun-drenched, poison-tinged cotton candy rock, dipping high and low and speeding up and slowing down as it chooses. Psychedelic-era Beatles come to mind. And candy appears a handful of times on the record from the twisted “Breakfast Eggs” to the children’s choir-led “Candy Sam”. Rather than add a touch of sweetness to Mugger, though, it makes it cheekier.
Segall relishes in character creation on Mugger, dreaming up all kinds of oddballs to populate the psyches of his lyrics. You could even say Segall’s taken on the identity of a character himself this time around – that of a mad-brained wizard. It is unclear whether or not Segall is even aware of his own risk-taking as awareness would assume acknowledgment. In fact, he doesn’t seem to make music in that headspace at all, but rather just follows his imagination wherever it decides to lead him.
In so many ways, Segall is about as refreshing as it gets, making music solely for his own enjoyment and stimulation rather than aiming to please any target demographic or fan base. And true Segall fans recognize this and appreciate it.