The Pink Rat by Song List Rat

ariel pinkI had always thought Jonathan Richman was the most silly song writer in all the world. That was until Ariel Pink arrived two decades later.

Just the song titles  deliver with Pink: Feel it with your Landlord,  Pleasure Spot 2-Lucinda  Cunt, Hardcore Pops are Fun, Girl in a Tree, R Stevie’s Brain, Steviepink Javascript, Haunted Graffidgerator, Kinski Assassin, Berserker, Dinosaur Carebears, Nude Beach a Go-Go and Plastic Raincoats in the Pig Parade to name just a few. What started as solo bedroom CD-R recordings when aged 10 that were given away on street corners has now morphed into Pink and band touring the world to launch his 11th studio album Dedicated  to Bobby Jameson. Most of Pink’s previous work has been pure ADHD both quirky and disjointed using many odd voices but with a pop sensibility that hooks you in just before you eject the CD. However who the real Airel Pink is has always remained elusive hidden behind warped vocals and the errant bombast of glam and novelty songs. Bobby Jameson has changed that being a concept album about a failed and forgotten pop star from the 60s. Somehow this has focused Pink completely to produce a coherent album of off kilter but beautifully arranged songs. The Airel pink album launch at the Rosemount Hotel on Saturday night was going to be the place to be in Perth.

Pink and band open with Lipstick and White Freckles  from previous album Pom Pom before showcasing the new album with Time To Meet Your God and Dedicated to Bobby Jameson. Pink is not holding back with sweat pouring and vocals warping through his microphone. The band are pumped up too with muddy distortion pouring out at punk-neck speed only to bring it all together again for the ultimate perfect pop hooks of the choruses. The shambolic behaviour of Pink and band on stage belie the immense quality and pride they take in their work. They are a fantastically tight band. He introduces his next song as a cover of Bobby Jameson’s Metropolitan  Man from 1966. It fits perfectly bookended between another two new songs in Dreamdate Narcistist and Time To Live. Listening to Pink live is like looking into a series of  Raymond  Carver short stories. There should be cages full of dancing girls in this bar. The dual organ smooze sound creates virtual dancing cages in the mind. It makes every man and woman in  the bar want to climb into the allegorical cages of Pink’s mind. Another Weekend is a highlight. It’s a fabulous song about a lost relationship but like all Pink songs there are many layers. While most of us haven’t had as big or as drug fuelled weekends as Jameson or Pink we have been there and lost many a weekend through excessive behaviour only to go out and do it all again. Pinks vocals are a modern wonder of the world. They are electronically enhanced to within an inch of their life. But there is also a lot of beat boxing sounds that Pink makes with his mouth and microphone reminiscent of scatting jazz. Tonight Pink also has his best high High Chaparral prairie whistle on show. Somehow it all works. Feels like Heaven is another standout and a nod to Pink’s beloved Cure while maintaining  a halo of weirdness. With Do Yourself a Favor Pink and  the ever-present Hyperman do a duet. Hyperman, who is a Bez(Happy Mondays) like character, jumps around the stage singing back up vocals and playing tambourine. The gig finishes with a cover of the beautiful Donnie and Joe Emerson song Baby. Hyperman then implores the audience to ask for one more  song. When Pink comes back on stage he doesn’t want to play just one more song. He starts ad-libbing  songs to the set list. Out comes Kinski Assassin some of Bubblegum Dreams before Bright Lit Blue Sky. After 90 minutes the  whole crowd is now paralysed by their own sweat. It’s obvious Pink is contemplating more before the Rosemount Hotel staff gently move him on. A little unfair as he probably had just under another 500 songs to go. Tonight Airel Pink dropped his guard and showed his true colours as the savant low-fi genius that he is.

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