Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Before Today Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Before Today

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Before Today

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Before Today

Do you sometimes find yourself wishing you were better than you are? I mean like a child wishes, you know, with no real efforts made to realize your desired change beyond the wish itself. We’ll if no one else does at least I still wish. I wish because change is difficult, and changing other people’s perceptions of you is downright impossible.

There’s been a ton of hype about Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti’s newest album, Before Today. Prior to hearing the album I was a bit confused as to why. I get that Ariel Pink is of Animal Collective fame, and signing to 4AD was probably plenty to get the in-crowd wet.  The consensus about Ariel Pink’s prior works is that most people will receive them with varying levels of indifference. The vast majority of stuff released from 2004-2008 is the type of Lo-Fi and/or homemade EPs, LPs, and 45s that hipsters love to dry-hump (to be fair to hipsters dry-humping is probably easier than trying to get size 0 jeans off with an erection).

Now comes Before Today which was greeted rather strangely by two of the biggest editorial sites in the musicsphere; one giving it a 9/10 and naming it Best New Music, the other giving it the first 0/5 I’ve ever seen on the site. If nothing else Before Today is polarizing.

So the million dollar question; what impact should an artist’s prior works have on how their current material is perceived?

Before Today has managed to sound more vintage than anything else Ariel Pink’s released to date, while also distinctly less Lo-Fi. It’s completely unpredictable in the way Deerhoof’s Runners Four was. He daftly weaves between instantly gratifying pop hooks, completely chaotic garage sounds, 70s soul, and New Wave smoothness. Like an accomplished chef deconstructing a dish there is a lot of adventure garnered through Ariel Pink stripping down his music for this effort.

Even in dreamy and spacey songs like “Beverly Kills”, where sounds of jungle animals paint the aural landscape, you still feel like the music is tight to the rails. Right around the time the B side of the album begins with the crushing guitar of “Butt-House Blondies” you start to appreciate the variety that is being achieved while still maintaining a central sound. It’s as if Before Today is Ariel Pink’s statement that he gets it, and has every intention of ignoring what you think it is.

I’m really not sure, and don’t particularly care, if Before Today is Ariel Pink’s wish coming to fruition, him closing out the bull at the culmination of a game of darts, or a golden ticket found while peeling millions of chocolate bars for Veruca Salt. Either way Before Today has found the mark in a way that I truthfully never imagined. The truly memorable part of this effort is Ariel Pink has found away to sound his most atmospheric while realizing his most structured work to date. So rather than listening to this album with any preconceived notions you have from his prior works I would challenge people to hear Ariel Pink for the first time.

Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Before Today – Tracklist:
1. Hot Body Rub
2. Bright Lit Blue Skies
3. L’estat (Acc. to the Widow’s Maid)
4. Fright Night (Nevermore)
5. Round and Round
6. Beverly Kills
7. Butt-House Blondies
8. Little Wig
9. Can’t Hear My Eyes
10. Reminiscences
11. Menopause Man
12. Revolution’s a Lie

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Before Today, reviewed by Big Ben on 2010-06-30T15:00:32-07:00 rating 4.5 out of 5

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