Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti's "Mature Themes"
- Article by: Seth Graves
- Posted: 08/20/2012
Ariel Pink spent most of the Aughts evolving from a cult curiosity in the realm of outsider pop to the father of chillwave and an all-around indie darling. A big bang of creative output in the late ‘90s yielded six or seven collections of hissy, baroquely drugadelic, lo-fi home recordings trademarked by gurgling beats, erratic melodies and woozy synths – the musical equivalent of a cold medicine overdose – which were instrumental in spawning an entire genre of mindfully druggy bedroom-based bands like Neon Indian, Memory Tapes and Beach House. In 2008, Pink took a left turn into commercial accessibility with Before Today, dropping his eerie, muddled trademarks and venturing into full-on rock band terrain with clean, accessible, and more conventional sounding music.
Fresh on the heels of the recent collaboration with his hero R. Stevie Moore, Mature Themes (8/21, 4AD) gives fans of Pink’s more difficult work inside a pill that’s easier for new fans to swallow, adding up to perhaps his strongest work to date. This return to form brings a batch of the same synth-driven, outsider pop for which he’s most famous, only this time you don’t have to turn it up so loud to hear what’s going on in it. Popping loud and clear, the original Haunted Graffiti style has been scrubbed of its muddled production and Pink’s songwriting evolves into a more sophisticated incarnation of glammy, absurdist chamber pop that drifts ever-slightly into country western (“Driftwood”), goth punk (“Early Birds of Babylon”) and generally obscure oddities and oracles.