For Medulla, Björk hewed her beats out of Rahzel and Mike Patton’s epiglottises, Manhattan Transfer–ing them over in some sleek 15-odd studios. So why did the phlegmatic throats feel colder than pond scum in Reykjavík? And why does the metronomic spittle beatboxed by one-man band Ariel Pink and the Haunted Graffiti on eight-track feel so much warmer? Warmer than a casting director’s Jacuzzi in the Hollywood Hills, warmer than a Spahn ranch skinny-dip with Squeaky Fromme, warmer than a teen runaway’s Rohypnol drool puddle—each lip-smacked snare and spat-out break lures us deeper into the muggy smog and hot scuzz of The Doldrums. It’s Pink’s first non-CD Baby release, which is to say: He’s coming up so you better get the party started.
With a Fisher Price fidelity that makes Bob Pollard sound more studio-hack exacting than Fagen-Becker, Pink pops phunny-pharm bottles like Brian Wilson and croons in a crusty bathrobe over wobbly tapes from Gary Wilson’s long-lost Smile. When his castrato voice isn’t shriveling Barry Gibb into Barry White (“Among Dreams”), Pink gets support from backup singers huffing Muppet-phetamines. It all numbs like gold-dust snot in the golden-throat glory days of FM radio, hawking up a stagnant swamp thing more hideous than Elton Jandek.
Ariel Pink plays Tonic November 20.