Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti : Mature Themes
Has the pint-sized Mr. Pink finally grown up? Anyone alarmed by 2010’s rollercoaster-ride of an album, Before Today, would have been further baffled by trying to get their head around the hefty stack of lo-fi run-offs that make up his work before the ‘Haunted Graffiti’ days. Though hardly approaching ‘normal’, the band’s previous album was a bold step toward a cleaner sound and it revealed a warped pop genius.
New album Mature Themes anticipates the ‘what will he do now?’ feeling by putting on a straight face. Early into the mix, we’re treated to earthy soft rock songs such as the striking, immediate Only In My Dreams and the wistful title track, while the album is illustrated by black-and-white portraits of the band looking super-serious and posing under bland site-specific sculptures. But then you also get lyrics like "Bring on the bogan shemales hopped up on meth" and "Gismchasm, Gasmplosion, Shooting sperm into your spine". The genre-hopping is once again in play, forming a collection that’s fantastically all over the place and includes a fuzzy little number that’s entirely devoted to schnitzel.
The final song may be a cover, but it sums up the album perfectly. Pink and DamFunk are faithful to the original Baby by Joe and Donnie Emerson, with both versions a seemingly straightforward, normal ballad, but with a sinister, unsettling undercurrent. Ariel Pink is slowly starting to mature, but don’t get too comfortable just yet.
BY CHRIS GIRDLER
Best Track: Only In My Dreams
If You Like These, You’ll Like This: Before Today ARIEL PINK’S HAUNTED GRAFFITI, Burnt Weeny Sandwich THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION
In A Word: Diverse