Musical auteur/provocateur Ariel Pink has made one of the most curiously poppish anti-pop records in recent memory with this long, at times indulgent solo disc. For all the deconstructing, texture and vocal tweaking, and sonic reassembling, at its heart this stays true to melody, structure, and hooks. With an overflow of ideas and invention, Pink mixes the silly and sublime, the whimsical and wise, in a Captain Crunch meets Captain Beefheart vibe. The 69-minute opus isn’t always accessible, but inviting, even sentimental, tracks (“Put Your Number in My Phone,” “Picture Me Gone”) balance out the more surreal, irony-laden larks (“Jell-O,” “Sexual Athletics”). Pink revels in and subverts genres by playfully retooling the surf rave-up in “Nude Beach a Go-Go” and winking at psychedelic rock with “Goth Bomb.” Unfortunately, a funky strut, “Black Ballerina,” meanders into an acrid excursion that leads nowhere. The best tracks —
ESSENTIAL “Exile on Frog Street”Ken Capobianco can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.