For even the perpetually young at heart, there comes a time when age invariably begins to leave a mark. Now just a year shy of 40, intrepid kinkster Ariel Pink tries coming to grips with this biological reality on ‘Dedicated to Bobby Jameson’, a record named in honour of the cult ‘60s singer-songwriter and the plight that was his short-lived music career.
First single ‘Another Weekend’ is one of the most straightforward Pink tracks in some while, and all the better for it. Wavy guitars and tingling keys come together and part as Pink muses: “Log me in and out of my life / I'm either too shy or humble". A simple formula is again fruitful on the foggy dreampop cut 'Feels Like Heaven', as well as synth-romp 'Kitchen Witch', with both largely avoiding the sort of manic detours that have become so synonymous with Pink's output over the years.
That said, the follow-up to 'pom pom' is not without its moments of eccentricity — 'Death Patrol' opens with the kind of sleaze reminiscent of 'Sexual Athletics' before plunging into a fuzzy AM radio refrain, while 'Santa's In The Closet' rings out like a deranged Addams Family nightmare. Slightly more soothing are the auto-tuned vocals on funk number 'Acting', not to mention the pleasant lo-fi glaze that hangs over 'Time To Live', which emerges gracefully from a sea of ominous feedback with atmospheric guitars that soar atop chants of "time to live, time for life".
Though it’s hard to imagine what a more mature Ariel Pink may sound like, 'Dedicated to Bobby Jameson' offers an enticing preview, delicately ebbing and flowing between irreverent pastiche and tender melancholy, and in the end striking a balance that makes it one of Pink's more accessible and immediately gratifying records in recent memory.
Words: Noveen Bajpai
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