Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Before Today

Release Date 07/06/2010 (4AD)

By Kristian Jackson

Having operated out of bedrooms for the past fifteen years, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti have decided to put out an album recorded in a proper studio. Fortunately, in surrendering their lo-fi aesthetic, they haven’t abandoned the musical adventurism that characterises their output, and what emerges is their most impressive release to date.

Indeed, the songs definitely benefit from the added polish; for all their left-field trappings, band leader Ariel Marcus Rosenberg has never disguised his appreciation of twentieth-century pop music. On “Before Today,” he filters his own eccentricities through his more mainstream tendencies to glorious effect. You don’t have to listen too closely to hear echoes of their influences; the delicate and sentimental “Can’t Hear My Eyes” sounds like “Rumours”-era Fleetwood Mac, whilst “L’estat (acc. To the widow’s maid)” practically morphs into The Beatles Classic “She Loves You” as the chorus kicks in.

Even more striking is “Round and Round,” a seventies hit single forty years too late, a glorious fusion of insistent, bass-driven rhythm and lackadaisical cool that is both quietly anthemic and endlessly replayable. Elsewhere, the dirty blues folk of “Butt-House Blondies” sits alongside the prog stylings of “Menopause Man” remarkably well. This kaleidoscopic approach creates the effect of being given a collection of songs rediscovered after decades spent lost in attics and basements. Best of all, there’s not a trace of irony to be found, each track a sincere homage to a bygone era that lends “Born Today” a celebratory air.

Few bands could tackle as diverse a range of genres this successfully, but Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti make it seem almost effortless. This easily ranks as one of the standout albums of 2010 so far, and should ensure that the band find themselves a new audience outside of the diehards.

One response

31 03 2011

Totally. Quite nicely written too.

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