Inspired by the life and times of a fellow Los Angeles musician, the master of B movie pop is back
Ariel Pink’s new release is a concept album about a Los Angeles folk singer who, having disappeared in the 80s, resurfaced in 2007 to create a series of blogs highlighting his disillusionment with the music industry. Jameson died in 2015 but has clearly left a lasting impression on Pink, who states in the press material that this album follows its protagonist “through a battery of tests, the first of which sees him reborn into life out of death”.
That’s not to say that this theme has anchored Pink’s flights of fancy, nor does it dominate the listener’s attention. Instead it has allowed Pink to create his most interesting album since Before Today, as if Jameson has inspired him to knuckle down and explore his own pathos. He’s still cherry-picking genres on which to hang his crazy creations, but this time he’s able to frame them in a cohesive way.
Opening track Time To Meet Your God has the feeling of early Gary Numan. Feels Like Heaven casts Pink in the role of a New Romantic crooner as he proclaims, “There I go again / falling in love again”. Death Patrol, Santa’s In The Closet and the title track are all familiarly naïve and squelchy, the latter in particular canters along. The real highlight though is Another Weekend, a paired-back lament which hints at Jameson’s suffering with Pink singing, “To log me in and out of my life / I’m either too shy or too humble”.
Pink has found a muse in Jameson that has allowed his mind to both focus and flourish and in doing so has produced his most enjoyable record in almost a decade.
Verdict: A quirky yet accessible homage