Ariel Pink serves up an irresistible lumpy pop milkshake
Dedicated to Bobby Jameson
The days of serendipitous encounters are dead as we are now fed through the tubes of algorithms. There is no shock of the new, only cosily conventional brain pulp. Everything you need is psychically connected through a couple of Google searches or a Spotify playlist.
Ariel Pink’s output is the essence of the thrills we’ve lost along the way to this landscape of convenience. From his hauntology demo-tape beginnings he was the Lady in the Radiator made real, occupying that special, unnerving place in between dreams, memory and reality. He is the B-movie stumbled upon late at night on Channel 4, the weird home-recorded cassette tape purchased at a jumble sale, the half-remembered jingle of a childhood ad, the song playing from a taxi that drifted overhead as you splashed in the sea. His extensive back catalogue is full of shape-shifting melodies that, with every release from House Arrest onwards, grew to create albums that felt like compilations of pop hits from an alternate universe.
Dedicated to Bobby Jameson is that familiar melange of 1960s garage, 1980s death metal and 1950s pop blended together in Pink’s irresistible lumpy pop milkshake. The title track is an anthem for an invented hero that is Arthur Lee and Captain Beefheart doing the twist in Death Valley before it reaches the dizziest of heights on its Monkees-style chorus. Another Weekend is sunshine psych weighed down with the dampness of melancholy. Then there is the astonishing Time to Live, which moves from blissed-out garage to woozy trash metal and Buggles-shaped pop within five minutes like a radio fuzzing in and out of stations. If modern music is now endlessly predictable, it’s comforting to know that out there on the fringes there is still Ariel Pink – the perfect cult hero waiting to be discovered.