Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti The Doldrums

Ariel Pink’s incredibly lo-fi and very self-recorded insanity is a whimsically mystical superimposition of soft rock flavours and delightful weirdness. This might sound like a guaranteed recipe for alienation, but Pink’s songs are actually rather inviting. Part of the fun (and there’s lots of fun to be had here) that comes from listening to The Doldrums is just trying to make out what the hell is going on deep in Pink’s muddy multi-layered mix (he apparently uses only guitar and keyboards, and creates all of his drum sounds by treating his voice), but the real joy lies in the songs, which are high on the sad but uplifting tip that the Smiths and the Cure pulled off so well. Recorded back in 1999 and 2000, The Doldrums was originally released on CD-R, but members of psych-pop experimentalists Animal Collective loved it so much they decided to honour it as the first non-band related release on their Paw Tracks label. All in all, it was a great decision as this album (and the countless others Pink undoubtedly has stockpiled on cassettes and CD-R’s in his Los Angeles spread) marks the introduction of a new personality in modern music — one that possesses the innocence of Ween, the pop skills of Guided By Voices and the campy qualities of Gary Wilson. And, oddly enough, Pink’s voice often recalls the deadpan loneliness of Stephin Merritt from the Magnetic Fields. Invite Ariel Pink into your heart and it won’t be broken. (Paw Tracks)