Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Before Today LP

(4AD, 2010)

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Before Today was Pink's first release on a big indie label after years of recording hundreds of songs onto cassette tape (his mini "break" came when Animal Collective signed him to their Paw Tracks label in 2003). Those fearing a "sell-out" could relax – Before Today was no big-budget production. Rather it remained defiantly strange and scruffy while littered with big, catchy bits. Following the trap laid by opener Hot Body Rub – skronking horns over a motorik beat and some ghostly post-punk yelping – the likes of Bright Lit Skies and Round and Round burst with choruses as joyous as anything on the Hair soundtrack.

From here it's a dizzying surf through fragments of pop history, be it fuzzed-up punk (Butt-House Blondies) or sonic references to underrated west coast group the Tyde (L'estat (Acc to the Widow's Maid)) and Joy Division (Revolution's a Lie). Amazingly, the end result remains coherent.

As a time-capsule piece to remember what alternative music sounded like in 2010, this fractured, frazzled oddity was the go-to album. It left your head spinning. And naturally for Ariel Pink, it also left you with little idea as to what he might do next.” - Tim Jonze for The Guardian