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Aural Pleasure: Nickleback, Parkay Quarts and Ariel Pink 

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Ariel Pink | pom pom | 4AD | ★★★★

Since his brilliant 4AD debut Before Today, Ariel Pink has frantically bucked against his status as an indie rock headliner, evidenced by his frequent onstage meltdowns, batshit crazy interviews and trollish comments toward other artists. It’s refreshing then that pom pom, Pink’s third 4AD release, seems to find him finally comfortable in his own skin. That’s really the kind way of describing the balance he strikes here between his cracked melodic genius and his uber-creep persona. And Lord, is there a lot of creep to go around on pom pom’s 69 (natch) minutes. Before long, he’s morphed into the “sex king on a velvet swing” looking to lay you down on “Sexual Athletics.” By the time you scan down the tracklist to see songs like “Jell-O,” it’s pretty clear what direction we’re headed. It plays like the soundtrack to a ’70s porn flick directed by David Lynch, which, depending on your attraction to that concept, should denote whether you love or hate the record. —J.D. Swerzenski 

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