Ariel Pink: Worn Copy
With Ariel Pink’s newfound exposure last year, thanks to Paw Tracks repackaging Doldrums/Vital Pink and a respectable amount of press (for an “outsider” artist), came instant polarization: Mr. Pink is saddled with the usual “misunderstood genius” and “indigestible, obnoxious filler” sides of the fence. Worn Copy does not bring new converts into the folds of the former. Remove the aggressive allergy to fidelity (also present on Worn Copy) and Doldrums/Vital Pink was either the work of a pop clairvoyant, a man who knows about a few Little River Band, Bowie/Eno, and Style Council records that we don’t, or both. Really, people, where did those songs come from?
Worn Copy lacks the immediate charm of previous recordings, the OK, this is sort of annoying, but good God almighty where did that hook come from? magic. Fitting that Pink was “discovered” by the Animal Collective, as the same problem that frequently plagues it drowns Worn Copy: A wonderfully enigmatic quality comes with a taste for abrasive or pointless filler. The accolades and hype that showered this guy produced the worst possible outcome: a self-indulgent, heartless excuse simply to fuck around with noise, unclever jokes, pathetic attempts at expired ’80s new wave, and epics. Yes, epics: The first track (“The Trepanated Earth”) is a three-part, 11-minute abyss of self-conscious weirdness without a second of catchiness. Songs that begin with promise (“Life in L.A.,” “Immune to Emotion”) devolve into forgettable nonsense. With Worn Copy, the medium is truly tedium.