Ariel Pink – pom pom
Unashamed perversions abound in first album without usual Haunted Graffiti collaboraters
Judging by some of his troll-y statements about women of late, sufficient to prompt Grimes to slate his ‘delusional misogyny’, you’d be about as pleased to know your best friend is dating Ariel Pink as you would one of those unwashed-looking, average-Joe porn stars hired presumably to make men feel better about themselves. One of whom this part-baked LA lo-fi weirdo could pass for, come to think of it.
His attitudes are roughly consistent with some of the inevitably mature themes addressed herein – ‘Sexual Athletics’ celebrates Pink’s prowess in the sack to a tongue-in-cheek comic sleazy vibe, ‘Black Ballerina’ features a skit where a teenager is taken for his first lapdance by his Irish grandad – although there’s little point making a moral judgement based on pom pom’s unashamed perversions. All pop is fantasy to some extent, and you’d be as well sifting this album for earnest views as to the opposite sex as you would Pink’s opinions on Jell-O (‘big satisfaction’) and nude beaches (enthusiastic, suffice to say).
Effectively the first Pink solo album without his usual Haunted Graffiti collaborators, pom pom edges back a little from the near radio-friendliness of his last set Mature Themes. While it may leave you hankering for a track as standalone good as ‘Only In My Dreams’, it’s fun to hear him back splashing around carefree in his paddling pool of strange ideas at such great length, while retaining the last record’s overall improvement in production quality.
Across 17 songs touching on everything from surf rock to trashy punk, standouts include the trippy-smooth ‘Lipstick’ – one of those speciality supernatural synth-funk pieces that sound like a long-lost tape recording off 1980s late night radio – and dreamy, hazy west-coast pop jangle ‘Put Your Number In My Phone’. ‘Black Ballerina’ typifies Pink’s knack for an irresistible squelching groove, and is possibly the best song here despite its schoolboy-ish pervy snickering, and more annoying still, the munching crisps sample on every fourth bar – a metronomic reminder that it’s rarely possible to appreciate Pink’s work without infuriating exception.