The band's undeniable, rather bizarre charm comes from its figurehead, Pink, who has been a freak-folk fixture in the L.A. music scene since the mid-1990's. His lyrics, his oddball song structures -- for instance, "L'estat (Acc. To The Widow's Maid)," -- all come together in a ravishingly fresh sound that establishes the band's throne at the high court of all things freaky and funky.
Lead single "Round and Round" is exactly what a goddamn lead single should be -- a fresh, innovative song that leaves the listener teeming at the bit to hear the rest of the album. It's a multilayered effort -- overflowing with 80's pop influences and a trickling-down, earnest lounge singer-esque break leading into a magnificently bold chorus. Oh, there's also a telephone ring in there, for good measure.
Before Today will definitely be at the top of many people's year-end lists -- and I'm not just saying that knowing that it will be on mine. Something as intriguing and as original as this album deserves every bit of recognition it gathers. If I've piqued your interest, then please go give the album a listen. At least give "Round and Round" a try.
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"Album Premiere: 'Before Today' by Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti" [Pop & Hiss via Los Angeles Times]