You know how they say “never judge a book by its cover”? It’s the same with music — never judge a record by its album artwork.
As I saw the pink artwork for the new Ariel Pink record, I kept these wise words in mind. Pink’s newest record, “Pom Pom,” came out in November 2014. I was familiar with Ariel Pink since I have friends who are fans of his music, but I never gave him the time and attention to see if I liked it, simply because I never got around to it — until recently.
This was my first time listening to his music and judging by this record, Pink seems to be an experimental post-pop rock wizard. His music is a fusion of psychedelic pop and dreamy rock ‘n’ roll — it’s a mixture of the tones of The Beatles and Michael Jackson with soft rock.
For the most part, the songs on this record have unpredictable sound structures. Pink hardly stays consistent and occasionally has obnoxious, dreamy and creepy sounds of what you would hear if you were in a retro amusement park.
The song “Exile on Frog Street” starts off with a steady rhythm but follows with a story pattern. At certain parts in the song, he speaks rather than sings.
“The enchanted frog was waiting for his princess charming
To come and kiss him on his frog lips
And who’d he turn into?
“Four Shadows” reminds me of Ozzy Osbourne in a starship teaching aliens about rock ‘n’ roll. The lyrics remind me of the metal music styles of Black Sabbath and Dio because of the vivid, dark, catchy descriptions.
“Four shadows ring lifeless from guardians of time. Banished from heaven. Etched into dimensionless slime.”
The first verse is hypnotic both instrumentally and vocally. His vocals echo with various effects throughout the record, especially when he sings “In the night, Only darkness in the night.”
The synth and guitar complement each other perfectly. During the chorus when his vocals get high, the guitar soars and settles with it. The synth helps to create the mysterious, retro, dark atmosphere that makes this song so spine-chilling.
As a new listener of Ariel Pink, I am pleased and entertained with his music. This sort of style is somewhere up the alley of my music preferences, and the use of unique sounds reminds me of Tune-Yards‘ latest album “Nikki Nack,” which came out in the summer of 2014.
Tune-Yards is a more experimental pop-oriented band. Ariel Pink and Tune-Yards both have random song structure abilities which consist of using multiple instruments that complement each other in strange ways.
Even though the album is one hour and seven minutes long, it is quite an experience to listen to, and I would highly recommend buying it.