Exclaim! - - POP ROCKS -

Tape 1 Play On their first full-length, Tape 1 Play, Philadel­phia unit Mike Pays Heat have bor­rowed a great deal of their twin­kling min­i­mal­ism from ’90s emo greats like Amer­i­can Foot­ball, and yet each one of their com­po­si­tions in­tro­duces new and dy­namic el­e­ments and tex­tures. This trend of pace-shift­ing and mor­ph­ing struc­tures starts with opener “Liv­ing Out,” which be­gins with an at­mo­spheric bass riff, adding lay­ers of clean gui­tars as the song pro­gresses. It all builds to a slow crescendo with a string sec­tion, as Ian Hunter’s im­pas­sioned vo­cals rise to a peak be­fore shift­ing gears into a brief but poignant spo­ken word sec­tion. With 13 tracks, Mike Pays Heat have com­piled a weighty col­lec­tion, but man­age to keep the over­all flow of the al­bum paced well, em­ploy­ing “(Tape 2 Play)” and “(Tape 3 Play)” — the lat­ter of which weaves sub­tle horns and muf­fled con­ver­sa­tion to cre­ate a haunt­ing at­mos­phere — to keep the al­bum co­he­sive. “Bloom” closes the al­bum on a pow­er­ful and mem­o­rable note, as the band flex their tech­ni­cal mus­cle and tran­si­tion from the bouncy, Tiger’s Jaw-es­que in­tro into a more op­ti­mistic sound be­fore open­ing up into a grand, string-fo­cused sec­tion at the end. (Dead Medium, deadmedi­um­records.com) BRANAN RANJANATHAN and all. Or, you could hit up emo­tional­mug­ger.com, where Se­gall, dressed as a doc­tor, stars in an in­fomer­cial de­scrib­ing emo­tional mug­ging, “a psy­cho­an­a­lytic sub­ject-to-sub­ject ex­change formed as a re­sponse to our hy­per-dig­i­tal sex­ual land­scape.” While all of this sup­ple­men­tary pro­mo­tion might seem un­like Se­gall, it re­ally speaks to the twisted goofi­ness and “any­thing goes” at­ti­tude that per­me­ates Emo­tional Mug­ger. The won­der­fully weird has been turned way, way up on Se­gall’s new LP, a con­cept al­bum driven by char­ac­ters and rec­cur­ring themes and melodies. There’s a deliri­ous uni­verse be­ing crafted here, full of needy, yearn­ing folk — each with an in­sa­tiable sweet tooth. Still, it’s un­doubt­edly a prod­uct of Ty Se­gall’s mas­ter­ful mind: Emo­tional Mug­ger doesn’t stray from his es­tab­lished path of fuzz, catchy hooks and sa­ti­at­ing riffs, but it’s messier than his last two solo re­leases, 2014’s clean-cut and cal­cu­lated Ma­nip­u­la­tor and the acous­tic, soul-bar­ing Sleeper, re­turn­ing to the lo-fi sound of his 2008 self-ti­tled re­lease. It’s also his wack­i­est work to date, with bizarre notes and chords here and there, un­ex­pected changes of pace, mid-song melody re­con­struc­tions, gooey and screechy vo­cals and plenty of ef­fects. There’s noth­ing mild about Emo­tional Mug­ger; it has an over­whelm­ing sense of mad­ness, but it’s ad­dic­tive none­the­less. (Drag City, dragc­ity.com) COSETTE SCHULZ

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