Ty Segall & the Muggers, Axis:Sova | Thalia Hall | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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Ty Segall

Ty Segall

Denee Petracek

Ty Segall & the Muggers, Axis:Sova 

When: Mon., March 7, 9 p.m. 2016
Price: $25-$28, $23 in advance
In the credits for his ripping new album Emotional Mugger (Drag City) prolific LA rocker Ty Segall writes, “Thank you to all of the Spud Boys.” I’m not sure to whom he’s referring, but “spudboy” once described a manic Devo fan, and there’s something about the new record that reminds me of the early work of those Akron geniuses. Numbed-out analog synth patterns throb and squiggle across the entire album, and the artwork and promotional videos feature eyeless dolls and musicians wearing mutant masks, bringing to mind Mark Mothersbaugh’s Booji Boy character. The record’s dominant flavor suggests the fuzzed-out glam of T. Rex, heard both in how Segall’s nasally voice (and attendant falsetto) traces irresistible melodies and how the lumbering, distorted guitars serve up one furious riff after another. And on closer inspection the guitar solos are almost uniformly wiggy and spastic, as psychedelic excess disintegrates into avant-garde provocation and slate-gray analog-synth patterns cut harshly across the grain. A number of guest musicians turn up to help Segall: Melvins drummer Dale Crover and bassist Mikal Cronin drop in for a blammo, low-end demolition of “Diversion,” an early jam by Eddy Grant’s Equals, while onetime Chicagoan Emmett Kelly (Cairo Gang) contributes melodic but warped solos on three tracks. Emotional Mugger conveys an experimental flair I haven’t heard from Segall in quite a few years, adding some tension that’s been missing lately, so while it may not be as strong overall as the perfect Manipulator (2014), his creative restlessness often redeems it.
— Peter Margasak



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