"Before Today" by Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti
Before Today

4AD
2010

Review

They say you find what you are looking for. I'm not exactly sure that I was looking for as strong an 80's influence as the one that I found on Arel Pink's Haunted Graffiti's latest album "Before Today" as much as it was just there and crept up to me and slapped me in the face with the brunt of its 80's-ness. There's plenty of 80's Rock, Pop, and Punk inflence to be had here and if you've been paying any attention to this here blog (...and if not, why not? We're nice folks!) you should already know that I'm a sucker for the 80's.

"Can't Hear My Eyes" has the stamp of the 80's all over it. It's the keyboard arrangements and soft-guitar licks, I think. It's hard for me to place precisely what makes this song so 80's-tastic. It's almost like an amalagram of every Pop-Rock 80's song that I remember listening to growing up (I mean, there's a sax solo at the end). Along these same lines, just listen to "Bright Lit Blue Skies" and tell me that it doesn't remind of every popular late 80's soft-rock song?

"Fright Night" has a sort of Nicolay-esque element to it that made me realize how much Nicolay's production was influenced by our friend the 1980's synthezier. "Beverly Kills" has a funky as all-out-doors bassline and heavy backing synth to it that just has a way of making me smile over and over again (it's not quite chicka-pount-wert music, nor is it exactly like a song by The Whispers, but it's definitely somewhere in-between).

By far the most interesting track on the album has to be "Menopause Man", if not just for the lyrics alone.

Mental woman, born a man
Born a woman, mental man
Change me, I'm changing day to day
Lady, I'm a lady from today

Trying too hard to be yourself
Said you're trying too hard to be what you are

Make me maternal, fertile woman
Make me menstral, menopause man
Rap me, castrate me, make me gay
Lady, I'm a lady from today

Trying too hard, trying too hard,
Trying too hard to be what are

...it's not often you hear songs about gender confusion issues, but sure, why not?

This isn't a straightforward "Rock" album. It's more like the sort of almost rock albums that I remember hearing on the radio when I was a kid....in the 80's.

3.917 out of 5

Track Ratings

1. Hot Body Rub (02:26) 3
2. Bright Lit Blue Skies (02:24) 4
3. L'estat (Acc. to the Widow's Maid) (04:26) 4
4. Fright Night (Nevermore) (03:35) 4
5. Round and Round (05:08) 4
6. Beverly Kills (03:56) 5
7. Butt House Blondies (03:27) 3
8. Little Wig (05:46) 3
9. Can't Hear My Eyes (03:19) 5
10. Reminiscences (02:33) 4
11. Menopause Man (04:00) 5
12. Revolution's a Lie (03:40) 3