LA’s Ariel Pink has long been in the business of off-kilter, sardonic, sleazy sounds that cut and paste 60s psychedelia, 70s prog and 80s synthpop with obvious adoration and more than a tinge of ironic pastiche. How, though, could he possibly filter all of it into a concept record? Dedicated to Bobby Jameson is ostensibly themed around the cult Californian singer from the 60s whose career was derailed by drugs and alcohol, except that it’s loaded with strange non-sequiturs – such as the krautrock-heavy Time to Meet Your God, and Santa’s in the Closet, high on cut-price Bowie vibes – which meander away from the central conceit. The moments where Pink truly connects with the Jameson myth – albeit with minimal context for the listener – are the most effective; Another Weekend and the Cure-nodding Feels Like Heaven are raw and authentic in their ennui and romance, while the title track channels Pink’s knack for facsimile into something productive, as he narrates Jameson’s struggles on the Sunset Strip. There are some excellent – even tender – moments here but, as per, only true fans will be able to overlook Pink’s exasperating lack of focus.
Hannah J Davies
Hannah J Davies is the Guardian's deputy editor, newsletters, and a culture writer