first impressions: ariel pink’s haunted graffiti – before today

*this first impression has been made possible by the los angeles times, who are currently streaming the album in its entirety.

despite not having any significant recognition in blog- or indie-scapes until the last year or so, ariel pink – aka ariel rosenberg – has actually been spraying his haunted graffiti for years, beginning in 2004 on animal collective’s paw tracks label (rosenberg even opened for them on tour). nevertheless, rosenberg is calling this newest collection of songs his “first” haunted graffiti album, and even the title would seem to insinuate that none of his previous output matters before today. whether you’re a newcomer to his music or a longtime devotee is irrelevant. what matters is that before today is a slick, seductive slab of both lo and glo-fi pop gems that should satisfy any listener, old or new.

more first listen observations after the jump…

  • call me crazy, but i’m hearing elements of prime ’80s prince in opener “hot body rubs,” from the fuzzed out sax and bassline to rosenberg’s sexed out squeaking of the lyrics.
  • ariel pink still loves his shades of sonic gray (how perfect that he’s on 4AD). the hazy lo-fi production persists here and makes everything sound like a diamond in some 35 year old jukebox rough.
  • “fright night (nevermore)” carries a touch of thriller-era michael jackson’s spirit in it’s danceable beat and unsettling synth and vocal harmonies. seriously.
  • future yacht-rock classics “round and round” and “can’t hear my eyes” are reprised here. both remain album highlights and are joined by the new “beverly kills” to complete the hat trick.
  • as previously reported, “reminiscences” could very well transform the weather channel into the next hipster party soundtrack.
  • while covering the great pop tentpoles of yesterdecade, (see above), this album also nails the sonic signatures of indie rock greats pixies (“butt-house blondes”) and joy division (“revolution’s a lie”).

you may have noticed that i’m citing a lot of other artists in this rundown, but this is no mere hodgepodge homage. the sheer sprawl of sounds that ariel pink manages to envelope is his signature psychedelics is enough for, well, as many albums as he’s pretending he didn’t already put out. the ways he uses and blends them are impressively inventive and endlessly enjoyable. even if you choose to take his “first album” assertion as truth, it’s a hell of a debut. if you already know better, it’s his best work to date.

before today comes out this tuesday. get it on vinyl. i have a feeling that’s where it will shine brightest.


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