10 May 2013

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Before Today

Some bands are just born in the wrong decade - these guys just reek of the 70's/early 80's so much that it makes for very retro listen.  This was 8th album by main man Ariel Pink and the first when he presented his work as a group with the Haunted Castle.  By the look of things, Mr Pink has been working since 2000 and been a busy boy releasing an album every other year when possible.  Originally from Beverlywood, Los Angeles and by reading a brief biography it seems like he is a big fan of home recording and self reliance.  This is either a very good survival tactic or someone who cannot delegate and hates input from other people.  When it came out in 2010, it made the Top ten albums by Pitchfork magazine - so which is it for this album, is it worth the praise or is it just fashion without substance?

For this album to find success it would need hooks and songs that would keep the listener interested. Thankfully this album has this in buckets. There is something of the Zappa about some of this; not 100% level of genius, but there is the crazy side show of pop that sometimes crept into Sir Zappa's work - take "Lestat (Acc. To The Widows Maid)" as an example in point. There is an art house vibe about this as well.  Considering this was released on the 4AD record label, the production is very lo-fi to say the least, but this is part of the charm of the record. Underneath this muddy production is an album that can sound like Joy Division in one moment ("Revolutions A Lie") and then have one of the most perfect pieces of pop this side of Elton John/The Cure and Joe Jackson that I have ever heard (the albums stand out track "Round & Round").

Now I would normally try to make an argument against the album at this point, try to make a more rounded piece for you guys.  But that ain't going to happen here, not even shoddy production and a vibes so old that it makes me feel young can deter me from loving this music.  It is not the all out genius that some people are calling it, but with such stellar tracks as "Butt-House Blondes", "Bright Lit Blue Skies" and "Menopause Man" in its arsenal you could not help but to fall in love with it too.  As I said it is the 8th album that this man has done, I have a feeling that I may be catching up on a lot of Ariel Pink's work - with or without the Haunted Graffiti.

8.5 out of ten - Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my money, time and heart

You can purchase from here

No real website, but here is the tumbir

Here is a link to their Facebook as well

You can listen to the album on Spotify here

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