Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti ‒ Mature Themes (4AD, 2012)Lugemisaeg 2 min
Ariel Pink has been one of those (increasingly numerous) artists for me whose concept(s) are considerably more exciting than the execution itself. And I’m one of those people in Pink’s (numerous? or dwindling?) audience who finds his lo-fi records more interesting even though I’m not particularly keen on lo-fi in general.
The blare and hum of a dragging tape simply suited his thrift store mentality better; back in the days there were enjoyable and touching common features between his schizo-ish humour and art pursuits (“For Kate I Wait”, “The Drummer”) – apparently because these pursuits were not as naked, his home-made recordings were snazzed up by moments of “accident” (as it occurs with fine humour and art). In spite of the occasional failures of his stage endeavours, Pink is now an acknowledged art-rock professional and both, his skills in combining retro sounds and attempts at hippie/hipster nonsensical buffoonery, feel oftentimes mawkish and stale. As is also the case with two thirds of this “retired folks” record. But towards the end of it a sort of a new or old quality starts to dawn on me. “Pink Slime”, a provincial barn dance (à la the legendary unreleased second record by Köök (Estonian band formed in 2007 – eds.), makes me smirk in the end; “Farewell American Primitive” is perhaps the best song Pink has ever made (a sincere sadness due to the loss of his and his homeland’s innocence); “Live It Up” is an anthem for a house-party-goer while he’s nodding off, and the seven-and-a-half-minute “Nostradamus & Me” is a waft of dub when already asleep. And if Bobby Womack were ever to get his hands on “Igatsus” (“Longing For”) by Apelsin (Estonian band formed in 1974 – eds.), it would sound like the final track “Baby” on Pink’s new record.
So it seems that “Mature Themes” is like the schmuck you meet at a boring bash – tipsy, yet all the more pretentious – whose clownery and redundant anecdotes you listen to out of sheer boredom until you discover that you have lost track of time and you suddenly hear something unexpectedly beautiful. Even a clown has a soul…