Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Mature Themes Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Mature Themes

I never really got Ariel Pink. A few years ago one of my friends played me House Arrest in his car and laughed the whole time we were driving. It was funny to him. This noise and weirdness. I never got it. For half of a decade I watched Ariel Pink dip and dive through the popular consciousness producing albums of great acclaim. 2010 saw the release of Before Today which could be Ariel Pink’s most commercially successful record. It even charted somewhere on Billboard. This is astounding given the fact Ariel Pink drifted through the lo-fi underground for so long. Perhaps this is the dawning of a new day.

For more than a decade, Ariel Pink recorded albums in an undisclosed basement releasing them independently on cassette. The early 00’s were a boon for this artist when he was taken under the wing of Paw Tracks — the record label operated by Animal Collective — also a bunch of weirdoes. For the better part of the decade, Ariel Pink has been focusing his sound while heavily sparing out moments of unhinged oddities. If Before Today was his most upstanding moment in the public eye, Mature Themes is his backwards stumble into weirdness. This is a relapse for keeping it together for so long.

Ariel Pink is beginning to develop two aspects of his sound. First is the lo-fi weirdness while second is the desire to write pop music. Things become interesting when both elements coalesce or collide in a terrible mess. I believe Ariel Pink’s recent records are, in a sense, his sell out records — compared to previous works. With that said, if things keep on this same trajectory, Ariel Pink will approach commercial singles long after I am dead. And even still he will dress them in drawings of a bestial make out session.

Mature Themes is a collection of world constructing creations which range from genuine love tracks (“Mature Themes”) to outright lunacy involving food and early glam (“Schnitzel Boogie”). The direction of the album is complete irreverence with various ulterior motives folded deep within its folds. It is an album which fucks with the listener. Even songs like “Symphony of the Nymph” are based on silly word play which is most likely cracking someone up. It is a hostile and silly record. I can’t believe I like it this much.

While there are certain elements of lo-fidelity on Mature Themes as a whole it is not clouded by the haze which was a hallmark of earlier records. This subtraction has only enhanced the surreal quality of Pink’s music. Instead of being obscured by noise, the crisp edges on Pink’s hallucinations can be brought into clarity. Mature Themes is the restoration of the same spirit and mindset which fueled his early records. Now we can privy to the madness and beauty.

“Kinski Assassin” is an important opener for the album as it serves a litmus test for the remainder of the record. If the quasi chorus of “Who sunk my battleship?…I sank my battleship” is too much for a listener it is better to exit at the entrance. If however, the line puts a strange smile on your face, the flume ride is straight ahead. Put up your hands at the fall and prepared to get drenched. Mature themes is one of the best albums of the year. Now I just have to go about convincing people.

Mature Themes track list:

Kinski Assassin
Is This The Best?
Mature Themes
Only In My Dreams
Early Birds of Babylon
Schnitzel Boogie
Symphony of the Nymph
Pink Slime
Farewell American Primitive
Live It Up
Nostradomus & Me

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Mature Themes, reviewed by Kaptain Carbon on 2012-08-24T08:23:35-07:00 rating 4.2 out of 5

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