Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti, 'Before Today' (4AD)

7
Before Today
Critical Mass
Label: 4AD

by SPIN Staff

With a label upgrade and real studio time, one might expect the fragrant four-track smog to lift from the sound of Los Angeleno Ariel Pink. But Before Today still sounds like it was dubbed to cassette and left on the dash of a 1983 Datsun for an entire summer. Every aspect seems faded and warped, but that doesn't obscure Pink's savvy maneuvering -- from the peppy "Bright Lit Blue Skies" (a '60s surf cover) to the hard prog of "Little Wig." And a gem like "Round and Round," with its Oxycodone swoon, has a brightly timeless glow.

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