CD review | INDIE ROCK

Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, ‘Mature Themes’

Piper Ferguson

Two songs into the new album from Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, the frontman issues a command that doubles as his mission statement: “Step into my time warp now.”

The conventional line on Pink, a Los Angeles musician (born Ariel Rosenberg) who started as a home-recording artist in the spirit of his hero, R. Stevie Moore, is that he has become more accessible, starting with 2010’s “Before Today.” Take that with a grain of salt. Even when Pink is more straightforward and the fidelity is higher, he’s still a complete oddball who’s miles removed from what his peers are producing. As his recording budget gets bigger so do his skewed ideas about melody and song structures.


“Mature Themes” is his latest psychedelic tour through the past 60 years of music. One minute it veers on the dreamier side of ’60s sunshine pop (“Only in My Dreams”), the next it’s knee-deep in sludgy post-punk (“Early Birds of Babylon”). “Schnitzel Boogie” is coarse and relentless. Clocking in at nearly 7½ minutes, “Nostradamus & Me” creeps along at a glacial pace, like Scott Walker on the wrong record speed with Brian Eno producing.

As a singer, too, Pink is as chameleonic as ever. It’s a vast leap from his robotic inflections on the opening “Kinski Assassin” to the ragged, loverman croon he employs on a cover of Donnie and Joe Emerson’s “Baby.” If there’s any cohesion here, it’s the realization that it all emerges from the brain of one man who runs his vision through various filters. (Out now)


Get The Weekender in your inbox:
The Globe's top picks for what to see and do each weekend, in Boston and beyond.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here


Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti plays the Paradise Rock Club on Sept. 16.

Loading comments...
Real journalists. Real journalism. Subscribe to The Boston Globe today.
We hope you've enjoyed your free articles.
Continue reading by subscribing to for just 99¢.
 Already a member? Log in Home
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of
Marketing image of