All-nonsense indie rock artist and all-round asshole Ariel Pink continues to make music for cartoons and the adverts you watch in-between with the romantic and also exceedingly irritating 'Pom Pom'. As always, that's probably the point. There's a song -- or jingle -- about Jell-O, so yeah. Good luck with that. Pink says this is his most collaborative work yet despite also being his very own solo record.
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Our Clinton had labelled up the promo for this new Ariel Pink album with the classic sign-off "Will the last remaining Ariel Pink fan please turn off the lights" which amused me no end. Even funnier is the fact that for all the derision no doubt aimed at 'Pom Pom' from various critical quarters, it could just be his most enjoyable album to date. I don't actually know what ingredients purportedly make an AP record good or bad but this frequently oddball, juvenile and overlong romp is far catchier, cooler and deliciously silly than the baffling 'Mature Themes' to my ears.
Seventeen tracks here that chicane manically between theatrical Adam Green-esque kindergarten pop ('Plastic Raincoats....') to John Maus style lo-fi 80s prog anthems from Mars; 'White Freckles' is an utterly barmy delight. Then the comedic progressive anthemic murk of '4 Shadows' bursts into life and you realise that something truly entertaining is occurring here. One of those crazy tracks that will have half the people who hear it wrinkling their face up in disgust but anybody who loves a whiff of raised eyebrow cheese in their life pummeling their fists into the air. Personally I dislike irony so as I love this song I'll wager he really means it.
My earliest exposure to this man was absolutely yonks ago on an EP called 'My Molly' and the reason I adored it so was the pure alien pop strokes fed through a blurry, aquatic aesthetic. 'Pom Pom' wears its pop heart brazenly on its sleeve too. I would have happily bought 'Not Enough Violence' as a teenager with its tribal 80's drum machine, queer wailing synths and fantastic spine tingling chorus. You will have the tune locked in your head for days.
Succeeding this is a wistful gem of a jangle popper, then a schmaltzy sun-dappled-meadow dream ballad, followed with the hilarious 'Nude Beach A Go-go'; a 60's holiday camp romp extraordinaire. Another tune that's either a joyful earworm or a cretinous chore depending on your world view. It's certainly got oodles of charm!
So it carries on thus, gleefully traversing every genre under the sun in a chaotic irreverent style, all infused with the fidelity eschewing Ariel Pink "sound". 'Goth Bomb' is a fabulously executed piece of post-Damned glam bluster, 'Dinosaur Carebears' a skewed New Wave/cartoon insanity weird-out and the final example is the dirty street funk blues of 'Sexual Athletics'. I'm not going to quote the intoned lyrics here but, rest assured they are a little bit wrong and incredibly funny. You get the picture.....
This album is as mad as a box of frogs. Buy it for your child today as an introduction to the wondrous possibilities of pop music.
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- Pom Pom by Ariel Pink
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