West Coast natives Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti present Mature Themes, the follow-up to 2010’s hugely successful album, Before Today.
Before Today was the band’s 4AD debut, offering the first sign that the intriguingly scatalogical music Ariel had been making for over a decade was finally ossifying into a coherent form. Indeed, the lead song from Before Today - the inimitable ‘Round and Round’ - was awarded Pitchfork’s track of the year for 2010, and further plaudits were heaped upon the long player as it cropped up in near-all end-of-year polls. For many it seemed that Ariel had finally reached the wider audience his early recordings had hinted was possible. And with Mature Themes, Haunted Graffiti have forged a record that raises the bar once again.
Installing themselves in a studio space in downtown-LA, Haunted Graffiti began a lengthy process of writing and recording. Mature Themes was a self-produced affair, with former member Cole MGN drafted in to provide some drum programming and additional mixing duties. Far removed from Ariel’s early bedroom recordings, Mature Themes reflects a more collaborative process, with the often-overlooked virtuoso musicianship of the band bought to the fore. "There are definitely not any links to my lo-fi origins”, Ariel recently told Spin magazine. “It's so diverse but so different from anything I've done before. In a sense, it’s really the record I wanted to make back when I made Before Today, but couldn't. We had time to let our hair down and try new things."
While the creative process was new, familiar Ariel Pink signatures remain. In fact, Mature Themes feels like the definitive Haunted Graffiti record, a patchwork of modern America, its esoteric reference points and moments of lyrical lucidity a twilight excursion through backwater LA and late-night TV channel hopping.