You know when you’re walking through town, specifically Dalston, and you see a man on a penny-farthing wearing a baby’s dummy as a necklace and a hat made from a Commodore 64, while ironically brandishing a Swastika? He’s pretending not to care for your ogling, yet that’s the very goal he set to achieve. Ariel Pink is that person in musical and interview-soundbite form. Heil Hipster, if you will.
Pom Pom is typical Pink – surprising, retro-melodious and, of course, absolutely bat-shit mental. He’s done away with his Haunted Graffiti, so in a sense this four-sided LP is Pink in his most raw and unadulterated form. It’s what allows him to blend his old-school tunes with anachronistic zapping and name a song Plastic Raincoats in the Pig Parade, or go the whole rock hog (so to speak) on Four Shadows.
Is the man a genius, an attention seeker, or having a massive lol against the Pitchfork set? Probably all of the above to be honest. For every acid trip through his brain, Pink pops up some instant classic lo-fi pop like Lipstick and Put Your Number In My Phone, both of which swirl with the best of his Round and Round style. To be fair, it makes a welcome change from the Acme meanderings of Dinosaur Carebears. Yep, we’re on that level of gimmickry here.
We’ve lived with Pom Pom for some time now and we’re no closer to deciphering what it – or the persona of Ariel Pink – is about, save an exaggerated form of self-aware braggadocio. Needless to say, here is a mind that works like no other in music, for better or worse. There are some brilliant hooks and melodies buried here between the technicolour tangents, but that’s part of his charm at this point. Like that man on the penny farthing we mentioned at the beginning, we may initially point and laugh at first, but there’s no doubt that the world around him will slowly adopt this more diluted shade of Pink and start seeing his influence for years to come. You might just want to wait for the Topman version, though.