Album Review

Mature Themes

Mature Themes

by Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti


4AD
8 / 10
28th August 2012

Reviewed by Max Walker


With Mature Themes Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti continue on their uniquely chaotic, genre blending, vocal manipulating path established with their breakthrough album Before Today.

Mature Themes manages to be both fragmented and cohesive, with Pink throwing around ideas around like a manic sculptor.  Bars of dreamy melodic bliss quickly veer into incessant yelping and white noise and  Pink, ever the vocal chameleon, jumps from falsetto female to British ruffian. Constantly drawing on different genres and time periods throughout, usually within a single song, it is this maybe, Pink's crazed hyperactivity and passion for 60s pop and 70s MOR that ties it altogether and gives the album it's seemingly impossible cohesiveness. Also the musicianship is excellent, as a wide palette of synths, 80s guitar tones and tight bass and drumming navigate the wild and erratic arrangements artfully. Likewise the production is crisp and clean, giving extreme clarity to Pink’s madness.

A lot of the tracks contain hilarious lyrics, which somehow doesn’t impact on the quality of the songwriting. Opener ‘Kinki Assassin’ sees Pink champion the under classes: “Bring on the bogan shemales hopped up on meth”. Second song ‘Is This The Right Spot?’ sounds like a sleazy Flight Of The Conchords at their most obscure whilst the excellent title track is reminiscent of a 60s tinged Ween. ‘Symphony of the Nymph’ is a tongue-in-check first person account of a sex-addict: ”I don’t need to burn any bridges/but I can’t get enough of those bitches/I’m just a rock n’ roller from Beverly Hills/ My name is Ariel and I’m a nymph”. In typical style there is a beautiful whimsical synth break after this line is delivered.

‘Schnitzel Boogie’ is perhaps the only time when Pink pushes his humour and eccentricity over the line into annoying territory. ‘Pink Slime’ is joyous as is ‘Only in My Dreams' and reminds me a bit of The Brunettes. There are still undoubtedly going to be listeners that find Pink’s music either too bizarre or too pastiche-like but Mature Themes is a rich, strange and endearing tapestry of a record. Although it doesn’t boast a crossover hit like ‘Round and Round’, it doesn’t need to. As an album it is probably more fully realized than his previous effort and most importantly, could not of been made by anyone else.






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