Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - BEFORE TODAY


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Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti BEFORE TODAY

Erin Donaldson reviews Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti and their new album, Before Today.

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Though notorious for the disjointed DIY sound of his home recordings, Ariel Pink has finally given up his self-imposed house arrest and taken to the studio to record his latest album. Before Today is his debut on 4AD, after having released a handful of albums and re-releases on Animal Collective's label, Paw Tracks. While this may seem like an unfit setting for Pink's muffled clash of radio samples and armpit break beats, it has left his unconventional style with a much needed boost of coherence that is sure to earn him new popularity.

Pink's obsession with pop music is no guilty pleasure. From the anthem "Hard Core Pops Are Fun" to his 70-minute lament for pop cultures past in Worn Copy, he boasts this love affair shamelessly. And now he has finally succeeded in producing pop music of his own. What separates Before Today so drastically from its predecessors is a lack of instrumental angst, a more mature sound produced by a perhaps more matured artist. Older Pink tracks left listeners with the sensation of anxiously speeding down deserted LA streets with a blaring, unresponsive radio. His new album is instead an upbeat jam meant for lighthearted cruises down Sunset Boulevard. Though many of the lyrics are still preoccupied with youthful disillusionment, they are offset by catchy choruses and guitar riffs.

This new pop-heavy production will be easier to recreate onstage, making for a more entertaining live show. The recent rise in popularity of the underground DJ and rap scenes also makes this the perfect time for Pink to make a comeback. His shuffling of old mixtapes and bodily noises now coupled with polished studio production is sure to please members of the bootleg and freak-folk communities alike.

-Erin Donaldson

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