If Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti is present in your world, I imagine you fall into one of two categories: the person who is begging your friends to listen to their albums or the friend being pestered by an APHG über-fan. I have been both these individuals so I know how annoying it can be to fend off Ariel Pink army members and later enlisting and serving multiple tours of duty. With the release of Mature Themes, expect both sides to replenish their forces with a multitude of new troops added to the ongoing battle.
It is hard not to talk about the band’s last album Before Today in this review. That album established the band as leaders of scatterbrained pop and had singles that shone independent from the album. In fact, the song “Round and Round” was named the 2010 Track Of The Year by Pitchfork. Needless to say, Mature Themes has a foaming sea of hype, hysteria, and haters anticipating it’s release. And while some might sight Before Today as the band’s most accessible album, Mature Themes is the band’s most complete album. What else would you expect from a band who deconstructs and rebuilds pop songs like a frenzied auto mechanic and then closes the album with a cover version of a silky soul song you’ve most likely never heard? Tracks on this album show the diversity of a city farmer’s market. Like a guest at a giddy get-together with people playing Twister, you will later find yourself at a poetry reading in a independent bookstore. “Only In My Dreams” is both classic and present-day APHG. The song’s lyrics are straight out of a Pop 101 textbook and yet performed with such expert musicianship, you feel like both the band and you are in on the joke.
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti will be playing at Webster Hall on September 14th. Mature Themes (4AD) is available today for purchase.