Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti: Before Today

Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti: Before Today

Throughout the late ’00s, SoCal DIY popster Ariel Rosenberg (a.k.a. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti) released a slew of cruddy-sounding home recordings that featured fragments of dreamy soft-rock buried in dull echo and tape hiss. Now, Rosenberg has spent time in a real studio with a real band, and while the resulting album, Before Today, is still lo-fi and crackpot, it’s remarkable how good Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti can sound with just a little cleanup. Rosenberg remains the kind of weirdo who’ll write a slinky song about fluid gender roles called “Menopause Man,” or open an album with a Roxy-esque art-disco instrumental that culminates with him impersonating Eddie Murphy impersonating James Brown. But Before Today is also much more cohesive and catchy than past Haunted Graffiti records. The thick harmonies over the chorus of “Bright Lit Blue Skies,” the buzzy synthesizer rush and weird reggae bounce of “L’estat (Acc. To Yhe Widow’s Maid),” and the measured pace and robotic sexiness of “Round And Round” more than compensate for a creepy, degraded atmosphere best suited to low-rent model shoots and dank-smelling mall arcades.

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