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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Colour Me Pink, 2010 Has A New Hero
Ariel Pink (real name: Ariel Marcus Rosenberg) has always been a bit of an outsider. Since the mid-90's he's recorded over 500 songs using only a primitive 8-track, a guitar, casio keyboards, bass and his strangled voice. Three albums worth of this material has been previously released through The Animal Collective's Paw Tracks record label, but here he is with his first...
Published on 11 Jun 2010 by Mr. H Chinaski

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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Pastiche
I've had this record for a number of months and my opinion of it has plummeted. When I first heard it, I thought it was quite interesting, but I've liked it slightly less on each subsequent listen. Now four months in, I've deleted it from my MP3 player and computer and put the CD in the 'take to the charity shop' pile.

The record offers 70's pastiche of a lot...
Published on 8 Dec 2010 by Mr. Mark Wilkinson


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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Colour Me Pink, 2010 Has A New Hero, 11 Jun 2010
This review is from: Before Today (Audio CD)
Ariel Pink (real name: Ariel Marcus Rosenberg) has always been a bit of an outsider. Since the mid-90's he's recorded over 500 songs using only a primitive 8-track, a guitar, casio keyboards, bass and his strangled voice. Three albums worth of this material has been previously released through The Animal Collective's Paw Tracks record label, but here he is with his first 'proper' release (with his own band in tow, no less) 'Before Today'.

Opener 'Hot Body Rub' really sets the tone. It is pure white funk of the Frank Zappa variety. The use of a saxaphone is prominant and Pink's minimal lyrics speak of his great hot tub ('Hot tub, get into my hot tub') before deflaming the mood somewhat ('Hot tub got a disease, Uh spread it in grease'). This pretty much sums the entire album up. On the one hand it sounds like a lost relic from the 80's mainstream (think Hall & Oats on acid) which would have been comfortable on daytime radio and yet a feeling of deprevity surrounds the whole thing, with Pink flippantly talking of drugs, incest and castration. But don't let that put you off for this is a record full to the brim with potential hits. 'Fright Night' with it's 'konck, knock on the door three times/and you knock knock on the door!!!' refrain is pure adrenilin-fuelled lunacy delivered completely irony-free, lead-off single 'Round And Round' with it's 70's languid jazz leanings and grandose vocal arrangements, the 80's hair metal romp that is 'Butthouse Blondies' and the quite frankly show stopping (future hit?) 'Can't Hear My Eyes'.

'Can't Hear My Eyes' is possible the greatest love song that this young century has yet thrown up. Pink delivers some beautiful lines:

'I gotta get a blindfold and close my eyes,
Before I'll get one look at you,
Because I'll see love in a special way,
And I'll see you'

meanwhile the band play the type of smooth-jazz style that surely The Fast Show could have easily mocked. It is one of the finest tracks of the year and in another age it would have been a massive hit.

Overall this is a mighty fine album and if all my talk of 80's jazz is putting you off, please don't let it. This is a record which is firmly sat in the 21st century, it just invokes memories of an age when music was a much more relaxed market place. Right up there with Beach House, Joanna Newsom, Flying Lotus and LCD Soundsytem in the albums-of-the-year-so-far-lists.

Smooth.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You're trying too hard to be yourself..., 17 Jun 2010
This review is from: Before Today (Audio CD)
I've long been a fan of Ariel Pink's decaying radio/culture vulture schtick and was worried that this `full band' LP would shave away his ramshackle charms. But, against all odds, `Before Today' is the perfect distillation of his queasy listening spook pop. Unlike earlier albums which display fitful bursts of genius and require the odd bit of skipping and good will, this is all killer, no filler. It's difficult to pick out highlights but a few current favourites are the scuzzy video nasty vibe of `Fright Night' (Nevermore) followed by the perfect pop of single `Round & Round'. Both hark back to the schizophrenic volte faces of the past which is something like flicking between songs but so much more accessible and clever than that sounds.

`Bright Lit Blue Skies' is the perfect downer summer tune with a beautiful harmonic chorus. `L'Estat (Acc. To The Widow's Maid)' is like a prog Kenny Loggins playing with cod reggae. It's the way that these disparate elements gel, fragment, disappear, re-appear that makes Ariel's sound so addictive. The sleazy, treble-heavy slap-bass funk of `Beverley Kills' is another standout. `Can't Hear My Eyes' is the kind of stalker pop you imagine the Tooth Fairy in Manhunter kicking back to. The instrumental `Reminiscences' has an odd burbling synth sound that you'd imagine both Toto and Dam Funk would be proud of. The peerless `Menopause Man' is probably the most sinister song on the LP, a weird meditation on sexuality.

Of all albums I've bought and loved recently, `Before Today' is getting the most spins and is the most multi-faceted and revelatory with repeat listens. I would never have thought I'd have said this a few weeks back but this is by far my favourite Ariel Pink LP.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Passed the Repeated Listening Test ! ! !, 18 Jun 2011
By 
This review is from: Before Today (Audio CD)
I think this is a really great record. I heard it in a back street record store in Soho and thought it was an old album as it has a retro sound but was surprised to find it was a new release.

I have lots of music on my ipod but this is an album I often return to, I guess it has a good vibe to it and I find it interesting as it is quite out there in places which I find a turn on in music.

Musically it has an ambience, seventies style keyboards, thumping bass lines and for Ariel Pink is quite tight and coherent. Lyrics are quite Bowie and Lou Reed and although he isn't a great singer he has something distinctive in his voice.

Highlights for me include the haunting 'Fright Night', and the smooth sun kissed retro sound of 'Can't Hear my Eyes'

I hope this is the start of much bigger things for Ariel and I hope this band stays together and release more material, I for one will look forward to it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Musical Magpie, 30 May 2011
By 
Mr. N. D. Elvery (Norwich, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Before Today (Audio CD)
I stumbled across this album a few days ago and was immediately impressed with the way in which it references numerous past bands (Fleetwood Mac, 10CC, Big Star...) and musical styles (80's hair metal, 70's AOR...) in an effortless, passing way, without appearing to try too hard.
Ariel Pink has obviously absorbed a massive amount of previous rock and pop music, but has filtered and refracted it through his own idiosyncratic, humour tinged, anarchic creative lens. The album reminds me in places of the band Love, with its kaleidoscopic, psychedelic approach.
An amazing album that rewards repeated listens, and which sits very nicely next to last year's equally impressive Cosmogramma by Flying Lotus.
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5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful frenzy, 1 Nov 2010
This review is from: Before Today (Audio CD)
what a frenzy this album is...the opening saxophone reminiscent of UB4O when they were actually good....zappa mixed with EARLY prince...mashed up with Hall and oats...joy division "REVOLUTIONS A LIE" ....one of the best basslines you will ever hear on the track "Bright Lit Blue Skies"....instrumentals, taken from the Film Beat Street that actually never made the Beat Street Soundtrack....Velvet underground Tranny inspired lyrics...jungle chants....L'estat even sounds like the underated Manchester band ALFIE.....Is it a cover album...You think you have heard it before.... but you havent . Im in love.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Mr Pink's Finest moment has arrived.., 19 Jun 2010
By 
This review is from: Before Today (Audio CD)
Finally Mr pink has made the album he's been threatening to make for quite some time. great selection of songs, it's very 80s throughout and very Zappa in parts. The words are insanely amusing, the only the thing I feel that lets it down is the mixing and Im surprised 4AD didn't do a better job (if you didn't have the lyric sheet, you'd never know what he was singing about in parts!). It needs a few listens, but for me its album of the year so far. its great to hear a modern day album that sounds unlike anything else thats out at the moment. well done to Mr Rosenburg, keep em coming
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars He's Created A Monster (8/10), 13 May 2010
By 
Gannon (Manchester, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Before Today (Audio CD)
Just like Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti themselves, Before Today is ostensibly comprised of two parts. For those in the dark, the band is an amalgamation of prolific Los Angelino Ariel Pink and assorted musicians Haunted Graffiti (Kenny Gilmore, Aaron Sperske, Tim Koh and periodically others). The album, a sonically varied exploration of Pink's vision, is filled out to fruition by the Graffiti recruits.

Before Today is the latest instalment in what Pink has called the "Haunted Graffiti series", and is without doubt their (or his) least underground offering to date. For example, exhibit A, and knocking around since 2008, "Can't Hear My Eyes" is slinky, sultry, studio-produced stuff that pops with toe-tapping energy and late-night sax. Exhibit B, the super-smooth pop-funk of "Round And Round" is clean and catchy, and an ocean away from what Ariel Pink fans are likely used to. Replete with a sing-along chorus and reflective asides that give way to reprises, it is clear evidence that Pink is no longer stuck in The Doldrums of 2004.

Buzzing with sleazy sax, "Hot Body Rub" opens the album, acting as little more than a funky intro to the cover of "Bright Lit Blue Skies", which trips along on West Coast harmonising and helter-skelter rhythms. Pink's freak-folk schooling bubbles to the surface in the otherwise poppy "L'Estat (According To The Widow's Maid)". Yelping along to jittery tempos, Pink seems equally at home against acoustic scales as he does his newly adopted synthetic percussion. The soft synths of 80s pop cement "Fright Night (Nevermore)" as single material, confident quirks and swooshes pushing it toward the gap left by MGMT as they recoil from the limelight.

So ends the relatively predictable, safe half of Before Today. "Beverly Kills" then unexpectedly marries Klaxons-esque vocal spirals with insatiable, bouncy squelches and bass-driven Fleetwood Mac funk until it all descends into peculiar clicks and noises. Out of the blue, "Butt-House Blondies" mashes heavy glam riffs and solos with psychedelic vocal treatment and slowed bridges. The album's psychedelic pop comes to a head on the stomping "Little Wig", which is practically a lift from the Super Furry Animals catalogue, offset only by falsetto backing vocals and a tendency toward indulgent extension.

Only the instrumental "Reminiscences" seems misguided during this strong finish. Non-descript, it releases the head of steam that erstwhile surprise has created. Order is duly restored on the more introverted "Menopause Man" before the claustrophobic, Public Image-like post-punk jerk of "Revolution's A Lie" brings down the curtain to what surely deserves applause.

In bravely stepping from under-financed shadows, Pink has grabbed the chance to bask in the sunlight. As concession, he offers a pop heart to his creature, and Frankenstein-like, true to Pink's oddball roots, it's still a monster composed of incongruous parts. Some are Pink's own, some very much borrowed, yet new life courses through them all.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kind of just perfect., 28 Jun 2010
By 
K. Doyle "K.Doyle" (Ireland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Before Today (Audio CD)
What would the Velvet Underground have sounded like if they had hailed from California? I reckon they might have sounded like Ariel Pink's 'Before Today'. And the summer release date was inspired. And isn't that one of the best 70's album covers that never was?
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Pastiche, 8 Dec 2010
By 
Mr. Mark Wilkinson (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Before Today (Audio CD)
I've had this record for a number of months and my opinion of it has plummeted. When I first heard it, I thought it was quite interesting, but I've liked it slightly less on each subsequent listen. Now four months in, I've deleted it from my MP3 player and computer and put the CD in the 'take to the charity shop' pile.

The record offers 70's pastiche of a lot of different artists, without ever finding a voice of its own. I honestly can't recommend this to anybody, it has novelty value, but the novelty wears off quickly...
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unusual and doubtless a grower if you've got the time, 24 Mar 2011
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Before Today (Audio CD)
Bought on a friend's recommendation, I can honestly say I've not heard anything like this. At least not anything that isn't from the seventies. The whole thing feels very retro, and I can't work out if it's tongue-in-cheek or not. Lots of whooshes, whoo-whoos, synths and crazy sound effects make for a very unusual listening experience. My biggest gripe is the lead singer's pretty weak vocals, which can be very distracting. However, this doesn't take away from the level of invention in the album, and if you've got the time it would, I've no doubt, really grow on you.
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Before Today by Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti
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