Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti | Before Today

Cuneiform (2010)
By MICHAEL BRODEUR  |  June 1, 2010
4.0 4.0 Stars

 OTR060410_ariel_main

If the gradual polishing of Ariel Pink’s sound — and it’s not all that much more polished — puts his loyalists at odds with his albums, I count that as good news. Pink is at his best when he’s using his powers to unsettle, and I can think of no worse fate than to inure myself to his dazzling weirdness. He’s no slouch in his endless catalogue of exhumed pop tropes, and here he treats radio pop’s past with the all-encompassing vagueness of its title.

From the banjee (sur)realness of the sax-and-drums opener, “Hot Body Rub,” to the no-wave-with-a-side-of-kraut finale, “Revolution’s a Lie,” Before Today is a dizzying trip down an AM dial that the young Pink likely experienced only through the walls of the womb. The central synæsthetic non-sequitur of “Can’t Hear My Eyes” is lovingly tucked into folds of Steely Dan and twinkling vistas of lobby rock. “Fright Night” is classic Pink: warm like an ugly sweater, coasting forever down a freeway of 8mm sonics. And the wandering instrumental of “Reminiscences” is a little like being on hold with the cosmos.

Some may hear these hammy transmissions only as overwrought pop simulacra — but let down your guard a little and it’s hard to resist the charm in their affect.

  Topics: CD Reviews , Entertainment, Music, Steely Dan,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY MICHAEL BRODEUR
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   FOLK ACT  |  June 26, 2010
    Vikesh Kapoor
  •   BOSTON PRIDE WEEK: OFF THE MAP  |  June 07, 2010
    We may seem a little cranky, but us local gayfolk just love a parade, and we’re actually heartened by this annual influx of brothers and sisters from every state of New England and every letter of our ever-expanding acronym.  
  •   THE NEW GAY BARS  |  June 02, 2010
    If I may channel the late, great Estelle Getty for a moment: picture it, Provincetown, 2009, a dashing young man with no discernible tan and an iffy T-Mobile signal languishes bored upon the sprawling patio of the Boatslip Resort.
  •   ARIEL PINK’S HAUNTED GRAFFITI | BEFORE TODAY  |  June 01, 2010
    If the gradual polishing of Ariel Pink’s sound — and it’s not all that much more polished — puts his loyalists at odds with his albums, I count that as good news.
  •   MORE THAN HUMAN  |  May 26, 2010
    It’s hard to talk about Janelle Monáe when your jaw’s fallen off.

 See all articles by: MICHAEL BRODEUR