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« VA - You Baby: Words & Music by P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri | Main | MAYLEE TODD - Choose Your Own Adventure »
Thursday
Jun242010

ARIEL PINK'S HAUNTED GRAFFITI - Before Today

Ah, the cassette warped from the sun. A perfect relic of 1980s summers, when absent-minded teenagers would leave prized tapes on the dashboard of their cars only to come back and find that David Lee Roth was a more than a little crazy from the heat—he was half-liquid thanks to it. Welcome to Before Today, an album that plays just like one such distorted cassette, even down to the hissy, mid-range fidelity that screams TDK Dolby NR.

OK, so you weren't around in the '80s? That's cool, Ariel Pink can let you in on it, but take note: this is more than some trip down a geometric memory lane. Pink's a cunning and admirably unhinged songwriter. Whether his references points are Seventeen Seconds-era Cure ("Fright Night (Nevermore)"), weirdo soundtrack outtakes from an episode of Miami Vice ("Beverly Kills"), or a pop tune complete with moaning porno sounds snatched from the cutting room of Guns N' Roses' "Rocket Queen" ("Butt-House Blondies"), there's always some sweet hook cutting through the retro fetish. Lucky for him, because even the most eager hipster has to admit that this is often one hell of a cheesy sounding record. But in the end, even this feature kind of works in his favour. It's almost like Pink's daring you to love this record in spite of yourself. And since he's smart enough to never pilfer from one particular style for too long, that's exactly what you'll do. Superbly demented stuff. 

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