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Ariel Pink
pom pom
4AD / Playground

"Although this is the first 'solo' record credited to my name, it is by far the least 'solo' record I have ever recorded." (Ariel Pink). pom pom is Pink's third studio album for the label 4AD, following his Haunted Graffiti releases Before Today (2010) and Mature Themes (2012). According to Wikipedia, Ariel Pink's influences range '...from Michael Jackson to R. Stevie Moore, whom Pink calls a friend, mentor, and "father of home recording".' You might add Animal Collective to this company, and you have got an odd-ball cocktail of musicians to pick affection and inspiration from.

Ariel Pink, or Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti = the multi-instrumental Ariel Pink and his 'backing band'. His Haunted Graffiti series now count eight releases (or more?), including EPs and albums. Ariel Pink (born Ariel Marcus Rosenberg) is a Beck-like artist. Not that he is related to Beck's musical style or musical whereabouts, but he is... sort of a creative mind of the same kind as Beck is. Right? Hey, check out "Dayzed Inn Daydreams", and you might hear some Beck inside it...? Anyway, in 2003 Ariel Pink was signed to Animal Collective's label Paw Tracks, who put out his The Doldrums album the year after, and re-issued his 2003 record, Worn Copy in 2005. The 4AD label states that pom pom is '...unfiltered Ariel, a pied piper of the absurd, with infectious tales of romance, murder, frog princes and Jell-O.' Pink once attended The California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), and he started writing songs 'around the age of 10'. He has recorded several hundred songs in some 20 years (onto numerous cassette tapes). Yes, he is a true, creative wild-mind artist for sure.

The 17 tracks pom Pom runs for 69 minutes, which might be some songs too many, or some 15-20 minutes too long. That said, the album works very well, and it is such a colourful collection of songs and being expandable in a most flexible way. The album is like a hyper-elastic rubber ball. Pink's music is slightly psychedelic pop, with hints of flower-power (flower-plower?), a devilish and refreshing DIY spirit (listen to "Not Enough Violence"), and new wave-like punk-pop, say... like a lighter version of The Stranglers (just check out "White Freckles", or "Sexual Athletics"). Now and again (again, "Not Enough Violence"), you might also spot his old taste for Gothic rock (bands such as Bauhaus, Christian Death, The Sisters of Mercy, and The Cure - the latter one of his all-time, favourite bands). The opener, "Plastic Raincoats In The Pig Parade" is one of those psychedelic, pink raincoats for sunny, blue-skied days. His playfulness was completed with pom pom, it seems, and he has collaborated with the legendary producer, singer and musician Kim Fowley (songs like "Plastic Raincoats In The Pig Parade" and "Jell-O" were co-written with Fowley in a hospital room, where Fowley battled with cancer). Ariel Pink's music is everything at once, and all the sounds you can imagine - and more! Here are beats, strange twists, rapid and sudden twirls, soothing melodies, bouncing pop, sparkling punk-pop, high end lo-fi, and much more. Like 4AD call the musical content of pom pom: 'From demented kiddie tune collaborations [with Fowley], to beatific, windswept pop, scuzz-punk face-melters, and carnival dub psychedelia' 4AD has also said that '...pom pom could very well be Ariel Pink's magnum opus', and as I hear the album over and over I might agree more and more to that idea/statement. Pink's music is confetti, bon-bons, and fireworks, and everything's totally out of control. The rule of Ariel Pink is that there are no rules. Finally, to quote 4AD once more: They have said that over the years, Ariel Pink has been 'cementing his name as a king of pop perversion'. Sink into his music. If you've accepted his way of writing, performing and arranging his songs, you are lost in what you have found. Listen to "Exile On Frog Street". If you like it, you are into Ariel Pink's world. And, yes, while spinning pom pom again, I realise that the record maybe isn't too long after all.

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