By Jason Herring, December 4 2014 —
Ariel Pink, like most indie-pop oddities, has a puzzling personality. With an affinity for lo-fi cassette recordings and a tendency to experiment with his music, Pink found success with albums Before Today and Mature Themes. Unfortunately, in his most recent double LP, pom pom, Pink falls short of his previous work.
The record features over an hour of noise-pop experiments that range from annoying to completely unlistenable. The songs are a smattering of mismatched sounds backed by garish ’80s synthesizers and drum machines.
The horrendous “Dinosaur Carebears” is a prime example, featuring a nauseating
combination of clashing melodies that should never have made it out of the recording studio.
Throughout the album, Pink assumes a glam-rock persona that feels as if he’s trying to emulate David Bowie or T-Rex. But Pink lacks both the personality and the creative capacity of the artists he’s trying to imitate to make the charade convincing.
Lyrically, all that Ariel Pink seems to be able to sing about is a confused sexuality, most notable in “Sexual Athletics,” where Pink boasts his sexual prowess and proclaims himself the “sex king on a velvet swing.”
Even the best song on the album, “Put Your Number In My Phone,” feels so impotent that it wouldn’t be surprising to hear in an Old Navy commercial. It only holds the distinction of being the album’s best track because the rest of the songs are so bad.
Although pom pom is a double album, there’s not enough worthwhile material on the release to even justify an EP. Even in its best moments, Ariel Pink’s latest project only manages mediocrity.