Thursday, November 15, 2012

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti: Mature Themes (2012)


!!!!! AVOID !!!!!

Ariel Pink was just another bedroom-pop cult figure knocking out lo-fi projects consistent in their sleepy-eyed disaffection until 2010's dazzling Before Today, a tour of alternative rock history that tapped into the joy of discovery, of vinyl plundering and expressionistic elaboration on the results, peaking with the shimmering melodic opus "Round and Round."

Such pleasures are only fleetingly recalled on the disappointing Mature Themes, in the skeletal but catchy Byrds-alike "Only in My Dreams" and the almost convincingly soulful "Baby." Otherwise, this is a frustrating regression into Pink's deadpan whining of yore; at worst ("Driftwood," "Schnitzel Boogie"), he resembles Arthur Lee on an end-of-the-road drug bender. Gone is the spark and restlessness, replaced by the Haunted Graffiti's new fixation on softcore-porn Muzak. There was a time, of course, when not giving a fuck was renowned as some sort of punk virtue, but if you're looking to surround yourself with apathy for an hour, better Stephin Merritt's actual popcraft than the fanatical flatness of this joyless New Wave; it comes across as a joke, and we're not in on it.

[Submitted to MT but unpublished.]

Worn Copy (2005)
Before Today (2010)

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