Ariel Pink is particularly talented at channeling the soft warmth of 70s smooth pop, recreating not just the rolling melodies, but, more importantly, the fuzzy aural glow of a tiny AM transistor radio. The fact that much of his output has been recorded at home on cheap equipment is part of it, but conceptually, the fuzz is crucial to the aesthetic; listening to Air Supply at high volume on an expensive stereo is preposterous—it's not meant to overwhelm, but rather to seduce softly. When Ariel Pink signed to an actual record label (4AD—a good choice, given that label's fondness for mystic pop like the Cocteau Twins), I wondered whether he would go hi-fidelity on us. Luckily, he didn't. While the new record, Before Today (note the explanatory title), is the work of a band in (presumably) a studio, it remains a sharp collection of the soft sounds he does best. If you like the idea of a sincere geek doing karaoke to lost Journey ballads (I do), then twist your AM dial accordingly.
Here's "Can't Hear My Eyes":