Review Summary: My name is Ariel, and I'm a nymph... also a colonoscopist
Ariel Pink is one strange pink haired guy that makes goofy songs with goofy sounds. I discovered him while reading Pitchfork's top songs of 2010, where Round and Round beat Ye's Runaway. I was completely shocked by this abomination (yeah, i believed this at the time), so I searched the song on YouTube. And what did i first found? The Picture of a kiss between a dog and a man. WTF? And then the song started and the nananaanas along with the synths and everything filled my room. My expression didn't change. What the f**k was all my mind was thinking. I couldn't even got to the end of the song! I thought it was one of the biggest mistakes pitchfork had made in its entire history. That non-sensical, boring song over Ye's epic? Give me a break. So, a couple of years passed. I didn't stop reading Pitchfork, nor I stopped hating that song. Ariel Pink's name was printed in my mind as some shi**y hipster that made music for nerds and so on. I was completely ready to hate on Mature Themes when I knew about its existence (again, on Pitchfork). Even more, they gave it an 8.5 rating. Gross, I thought. But hey, I had to know what it was all about, so i searched for Only in my dreams, the first single out of the album. God, Jesus, Buda, Superman. I thought i had found gold. It was so pretty, so dreamy, so poppy and infectious at the same time that I couldn't resist for much longer. I had to throw away my prejudices and had to find more about this pink haired weirdo and his graffiti band. Only in my dreams wasn't enough. Having so much fun on the beach, on the ocean, wasn't enough.
So, I finally heard the entire album and guess what? It's a delight. It's a sweet (and kind of a sexy one too) desert waiting to be tasted. Everything starts with Kinsky assasin, a song that instantly feels out of time. Keyboards, synths, drum machines and guitars fuse, making it an extremely engaging pop tune. Same thing happens with Is this the best spot?, where the goofiness is just so charming that you can help but like it. Ariel kinda gets more serious with the next song and title track, Mature themes, where he goes back in time and remembers his first desires to take a relationship to another level of communication. It creates a nice contrast with the fantastic Only in my dreams, in which he realizes that he can only enjoy the love he has for some girl in his dreams. Dreams are a way of reaching our goals many times (you gotta believe it, he says), or am I (or is Ariel) wrong? Who hasn't experienced the feeling of not being able to accomplish the only thing we really want to, to be with that special someone? It's incredible how well this is pictured here. Strangely, it's not a depressing song at all, it will actually make you smile and dance. Amazing.
The most striking thing about this album is that it feels like a dream most of the time. The production gives it a non-controlled musical screnario where everything can happen and everything can be said. Moments like the noise explosion on Schnitzel Boogie or the whole Symphony of the Nymph (best song title of the year, hands down) prove the dream-like nature of this album. Yet, It doesn't alienate the listener, it embraces and liberates you. It has the power to make your head move awkwardly (Live it up) or scream that you're a nympho (which I am, by the way).
The only low point of the album is Nostradamus and me, a boring song that drags on for too long and dies in its own psychedelia. At 7:25 minutes, it's also the longest song here and completely kills the good-vibe mood created by the songs preceding it. It's really out of place and the only part in which Ariel's experiments fail. Perhaps some Mary Jane is needed to fully enjoy it so, hey, feel free to do it for me.
The albums closes with Baby, my favourite song at the moment. It's just an incredibly soothing and sexy jam that you can't help but love and sing along. I know it's a cover and i also know that Ariel doesn't sing but back-up vocals here, but still it feels like the song completely belongs to him. It's the strawberry of the cake and you can never have enough of it. It begs to be danced naked on the sea with a lover on a hot summer night with the full moon as the only witness. Actually, that's the power of this album, the seductive and addictive liberation brought by a fully realized artistical freedom. I can't get enough of those bitches.