Artist: Ty Segall
Title: 4 1/2
Release Date: January 22, 2016
Label: Drag City
Emotional Mugger paints a picture of menacing clowns thrashing about in semi-trucks.
It would be the perfect musical score to the demolition derby video game, Twisted Metal. Ty Segall uses a different personality on each record. Releasing new material— on average— annually and his latest alter-ego is definitely demented.
The 11 songs on Emotional Mugger sludge along, carrying dementia on their shoulders. “Squealer” just sounds so agitating in the best way possible, comparable to the feeling you get from riding an old roller coaster— Belmont Park perhaps? “Emotional Mugger / Leopard Priestess” continues the agitation with screeching guitars that argues with just about everything else within the song and there is something sexual sounding about it. The rumbling instrumentals of “Diversion” is just constant thrashing with repetitive and alienated vocals. A common theme to album is frantic. Even the song title of “Baby Big Man (I Want a Mommy)” has you curious and the music is a strange as the title, with a chorus that sounds like crows cooing at a dead carcass. There is something to the whole experience that keeps you listening, maybe its the acidic and uneasy feeling that each song seems to communicate. Then becoming even more strange and queasy is “W.U.O.T.W.S”. A slew of white-noise derangement, that just sounds like a broken fax machine on acid.
Now, in comparison to Segall’s previous release, Manipulator — which was much more cohesive and melodic— Emotional Mugger is just some good ol’ filthy, dirty rock and roll. The heavy distortion, the sluggish and muddy tempos, the vocals that can be both robotic charming; it all just makes for an enjoyably unjoyful experience.