Surrounding the release of pom pom, Ariel Pink has adopted a kind of abrasive douchebag public persona, adding yet another layer of irony that you have to swathe through, as if the melodramatic carnival of gonzo-pop work-outs weren’t tiring enough. Not to mention that this is a 17-track double helping.
At the same time, there’s something continually fascinating about pom pom. Practically every track rewards with some kind of hyperactive hook, be it melodic or through Pink’s lyrical imagery, which combines the putrid and the pretty. In its 67 minutes, it ranges from Picture Me Gone’s near-future nostalgia (featuring on point #selfie and iCloud mentions) to Negativ Ed’s chorus which brings to mind a musical version of Beavis screaming ‘I am Cornholio! I need TP for my bungholio!’ It fits somewhere into the lineage of Los Angeleno weirdos at a point between the youthful mania of Arthur Lee and authoritative smart-arsiness of Frank Zappa.
Despite all it’s pop winks, pom pom is still never easy. Put Your Number In My Phone – the sweetest lolly to suck on here – is a song worthy of a great Stephin Merritt record. With Merritt, you are generally aware of his schtick: misanthrope conveys world-weariness though the pop-song. With Ariel Pink you are continually wondering just how much he’s fucking with you, just how much of the glint in his eye is calculated archness and how much is genuine mayhem. All the more fascinating for it. –IL
Like this, try these:
Love – Forever Changes
Frank Zappa – Ship Arriving Too Late To Save A Drowning Witch
Fiery Furnaces – Blueberry Boat