In Ariel Pink’s latest 13-minute morsel, Myths 002, recorded in collaboration with Natalie Mering (aka Weyes Blood), a medley of sounds converge in a curious gulch somewhere between serenity and bizarreness. Such peculiarity comes as no surprise as both artists are quirky to say the least. With Natalie a former member of the conspicuously names ‘cosmic-folk’ group Jackie-O-Motherfucker, and Ariel being somewhat of an extroverted introvert whose misogyny, homophobia, and tongue-lashing of Madonna have branded him ‘the most hated man in indie rock’, this was always going to be an interesting mix.
‘Tears on Fire’ opens tenderly with the chattering tone of Ariel’s voice and a sweet-tempered guitar only to be slashed by a shrieking operatic wail. The song leapfrogs from Ariel “roasting pigs on the pyre” to “washing his hands in the dryer”. Without warning it hops repeatedly from a perky jauntiness to blaring commotion. It’s a blotchy, giddy muddle – “How did I get so lost?” Ariel asks. ‘Daddy, Please Give a Little Time to Me’ is thankfully slightly easier to follow. Sitting somewhere between a Disney production, a West-End musical, and synthpop, Mering’s trilling vocals flicker over a brew of snare and echo. ‘Morning After’ is more well-defined and sees Mering channel Annie Lennox with Kate Bush into an entrancing blend. “Here it comes/A cure for the night I’ve been waiting/To let you inside,” Mering dwells upon a long-anticipated love before the song takes a ghoulish turn as Mering’s glistening reverie of emotion degrades into a vampiric trance – seemingly nothing in this record is straightforward.
‘On Another Day’, the final track of Myth 002, featuring Connan Mockasin (Mac Demarco’s Kiwi twin) and Andrew VanWyngarden of MGMT, reflects the crackling airiness of earlier albums like Mature Themes and Worn Copy. There is a beautiful, squinting section halfway through where a sliding riff transports this song to another level. Ariel, sounding like a droning, nasal John Lennon, is the highlight of the album, creating a glowing, velvety tune which draws this EP to a restful end.
Myth 002 is experimental and intangible. However, amidst its complexity, it is an album which pushes the boundaries of pop, which can only be a good thing.