Ariel Pink
Pom Pom


3.5
great

Review

by Tristan Jones STAFF
November 16th, 2014 | 91 replies


Release Date: 11/17/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The greatest of the sadists and the masochists too

Sometimes I feel disillusioned and resort to rewriting my memories through daydreaming, compensating for a lack of substance and fulfilment. It’s not an everyday thing, but still, occasionally we like to imagine that one time we should’ve told so-and-so what we really thought, and things would’ve been infinitely better. Maybe we could have tried harder in school, and so on and so forth. This is typical, but Ariel Pink is not. Pink has a unique retrospective flair in his brand of psych-pop, and eventually the boundary between whimsical silliness and subtle depression becomes questionable. It reminds me of a karaoke bar I went to a couple weeks ago (hey, it was a good time). At one moment I could laugh at the seventy-year-old man singing “Total Eclipse of the Heart”, but the sentiment changed when I imagined the song’s impact on him. It could have been his deceased wife’s favourite song, or something more innocuous. Who knows. The point is, Pom Pom resembles a man making up for lost time and having a blast in the process, but with hints of unresolved personal trauma.

That’s not to say Ariel Pink hasn’t been busy lately. He’s recorded under several monikers with various musicians including John Maus, many of whom share his reverence for nostalgia. Earlier works boasted a hazy, lo-fi aesthetic, but the times are a-changin'. For better or worse, Pink’s sound has become more streamlined, though never sacrificing its charm. Taken purely at face value, it would be easy to distance yourself from Pink. He carries himself like a walking parody, unabashed and bombastic. Opener “Plastic Raincoats In The Pig Parade” is comical and sounds instantaneous - like you’re celebrating something trivial with all the splendour of… well, a parade. As the album progresses, Pom Pom establishes itself as arguably the most consistently fun album Pink has released in recent years. Every song is distinct, and catchy melodies adorn tracks like “Put Your Number In My Phone” and the funky “Black Ballerina”. The sheer weirdness feels impromptu, yet is meticulously constructed when you perk your ears. There is so much going on with each track, like the ridiculous, sexual vocal excerpts on “Black Ballerina”, or the absurdity of “Jello”’s intro. Whether or not Ariel Pink actually takes himself seriously is a hot-button issue among fans and critics alike. Defusing this are “Picture Me Gone” and “Dayzed Inn Daydreams”, the latter of which closes the double album spectacularly. The melody is exhilarating, yet lonely; sometimes I like to drink, singing in front of the mirror like I’m carefree, and this song is tailor-fitted to this level of empty self-satisfaction.

Best-laid plans tend to go awry, as is often the case on Pom Pom. With its eclectic vibe comes a disjointed progression; there are moments where humanity seeps through only to be counteracted by off-kilter mumbo jumbo. It’s facetious. For what it’s worth, Pom Pom is a hefty collection of fun, unpredictable psych-pop jams, rife with catchy melodies and rich instrumentals. At the end, it’s unclear whether we’re supposed to laugh along or sympathize with the gloomier undertones. It’s anyone’s guess what addles the mind of Ariel Pink, and it doesn’t seem to matter. Pom Pom strikes me as a rejuvenation, and a yearning for self-identification via forgotten tropes of the psychedelic era. It’s music from a genuine music lover and I can respect that. I don’t know if I’ll eventually turn into that old man I saw at the bar, but if the music I heard thirty-some-odd years prior still carries such significance, I’ll be content. That’s magic. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.



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user ratings (197)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
jtswope (4.5)
On Pom Pom, Ariel Pink exalts humanity’s quirks through a series of complex emotional impulses....

BibiloBombus (4)
A triumph that plays on the analytical and nostalgic itches of humanity...

Bradley Harris (3.5)
Ariel Pink brings the Ariel Stink...


Comments:Add a Comment 
JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
November 15th 2014


5984 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

stream: http://www.stereogum.com/1718143/stream-ariel-pink-pom-pom/mp3s/album-stream/

can be purchased here http://shopusa.4ad.com/pom-pom



thanks EO for the proofread

ExplosiveOranges
Contributing Reviewer
November 15th 2014


4408 Comments


"aight man, I'll let you know if I need it"

neg

Jk, pos'd and will read later. Also, FUCK! I forgot to give you proofing credits in my new review. Will change that now.

ScuroFantasma
Contributing Reviewer
November 15th 2014


9804 Comments


You have a really unique and personal approach to reviews that I really enjoy Johnny, pos'd hard mate.

Digging: Thou - Oakland Singles

BMDrummer
November 16th 2014


13842 Comments


whoever negged should be castrated

jayz0ned
November 16th 2014


168 Comments


Did someone say porn? Thanks for reminding me. pos'd cos fap'd.

Wait... It's actually "Pom Pom". Oh well, fapped anyway.

danielcardoso
Contributing Reviewer
November 16th 2014


11027 Comments


Great review as usual, Johnny. Pos'd.

Pangea
November 16th 2014


2599 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

On my first listen and I'm not sure what do think of this yet. Some moments sound great to me, while other moments get me on my nerve. Put Your Number In My Phone is a really great song

Digging: The Microphones - The Glow Pt. 2

PappyMason
November 16th 2014


5702 Comments


Great review as usual, Johnny. Pos'd. [2]

I really liked 'Before Today' with Haunted Graffiti, and I normally enjoy this kind of stuff, but I was a bit indifferent to a couple of songs he released off this beforehand.

I'll try and given the album a full listen later, hopefully it will make more of an impact.

Digging: Mssingno - M1 Personal Trainer

Hurricanslash
November 16th 2014


1785 Comments


Great review as usual, Johnny. Pos'd [3]

I never really was interested in Ariel Pink. And this review doesn't really make me feel otherwise. Maybe I'll check it out. I'll see.

Digging: Megaloh, Trettmann, Kitschkrieg - Herb & Mango

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
November 16th 2014


5984 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

nice catch, thx Jac. Made a slightly different change but it should work

Funeralopolis
November 16th 2014


14010 Comments


Wow cool never heard of this, I suppose it is a side/ solo project of the guy from ariel pink's haunted graffiti?

Digging: Deicide - Deicide

Fieryfenderz
November 16th 2014


1805 Comments


Been waiting on this review. I dig it but it's not much more than what I expected. The album, that is.

cryptside
November 16th 2014


2397 Comments


Hey buddy, nice review you got here. I pos'd, this flows very well. It is personal without sounding eight-
drinks-in sloppy, and I totally dig that. A few things to add to Jac:

"Sometimes I feel disillusioned and resort to habits, like rewriting my life events and daydreaming,
compensating for a lack of substance and fulfilment."

I might change that 'and' to 'while', with that 'and' there the rewriting my life events and daydreaming
seem to be separate habits. If I am understanding correctly, you are rewriting life events through the act
of daydreaming, which is just a bit harder to understand with your wording. I'm not too sure that I love
the "(hey, it was a good time)" bit, if only for the fact that you're sharing a personal story with your
audience, and the lighthearted attempt at preemptively protecting yourself seems unnecessary. I also
wasn't sure what genre of music I was reading about until the last paragraph, and while it is just my
ignorance of the genre I'm sure, it may do well to slip in the psych-pop descriptor in the first paragraph
or something. Just a few suggestions, it's very good as is. Nice work, bud.


JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
November 16th 2014


5984 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

thanks sig, made a couple changes

cryptside
November 16th 2014


2397 Comments


Changes read great, my friend. Very nice work.

Atari
Staff Reviewer
November 17th 2014


22384 Comments


another excellent review man!

Ryus
November 17th 2014


13799 Comments


love your style, dude.

Digging: Actress - AZD

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
November 18th 2014


5984 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

thx guys. kinda expected this album to get a bit more attention for some reason

Funeralopolis
November 18th 2014


14010 Comments


edit: it is probably gonna get a bunch of attention soon,needledrop just 9'd it, pitchfork just gave it best new music.

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
November 18th 2014


5984 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

p4k actually gave it BNM



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