Bizarro-pop oddball Ariel Pink set for Glasgow's Stereo
The man and his Haunted Graffiti cohorts are coming to town to promote new album Mature Themes
Ariel Pink recently declared in an interview, ‘If I could find another Ariel to perform my songs, I gladly would.’ For someone who pathologically enjoys tying interviewers in knots, this sentiment actually rings true. Pink is like the Pied Piper of mutated pop, leading his audience a merry dance. But instead of calling the tune, you get the sense he would prefer to watch from the outside and study exactly how his scuzzy, dirtpool sketches with that FM-rock sheen can both enchant and repel, sometimes simultaneously. He would savour the chance to be a voyeur on his own creepy, sweet and sordid musical peepshow.
There is certainly a fairytale element to Pink and his cohorts Haunted Graffiti, but it’s of the Revolting Rhymes variety. He lived for an extended period like a troll in LA, doing drugs and recording no-fi weirdo CDRs with a coterie of LA deadbeats. Animal Collective’s Paw Tracks label took a punt on his dilapidated genius and after 2010’s Before Today breakout album on 4AD he entered mainstream indie consciousness. Now he’s regarded as a visionary by some and a chancer by others, but by common consent he has carved out a niche for outré pop cherry-picking – creating, with his Haunted Graffiti band, a unique, oddball homebrew of queer jams that vary wildly from cut-glass heartbreakers to skittish psych theatrics.
The group’s latest effort, Mature Themes, resides in that same grimy, cordoned-off, crawlspace, like a VHS that has fallen behind the couch, and melds Pink’s bizarro world musings with sometimes virtuous, often off-kilter accompaniment, always rooted in the otherworldly. Live is often a coin toss – in Pink’s chaotic world, band members come and go, and performances teeter on the brink of bedlam, sometimes tumbling off the edge. Other times it might run relatively seamlessly. Is that what his audience wants? Or do they want to be led astray?
Stereo, Glasgow, Thu 8 Nov.