Ariel Pink/ Weyes Blood
Year of release: 2017
On the second EP from the Mexican Summer's collaborative series, bizarro pop provocateur Ariel Rosenberg (Ariel Pink) and folksy singer-songwriter Natalie Mering (Weyes Blood) team up for a willfully strange and dreamlike effort. Mering and Pink have worked together before, most notably on Pink's 2012 album Mature Themes, so the initial oddness of the pairing isn't quite as pronounced as one might expect. Throughout, the duo lurch between baroque pop, folk-inflected ballads, and 80's post-punk while never settling into a comfortable groove. Opener "Tears on Fire" is especially indicative of the musician's odd sensibilities; with an initial acoustic psych pop vibe giving way to Mering's operatic vocal inflections, distorted guitars, and Pink's exaggerated growl. It's the kind of loopy art pop one expects from Pink, but Mering's ethereal background vocals adds another layer of strange beauty to the tune.
Songs like the folksy "Morning After" and haunting "Daddy, Please Give a Little Time To Me" are dominated by Mering's stunning vocals, with Pink handling the sleepy bass and Moog synths. The album is rounded out by "On Another Day", which throbs like a disjointed live 80s bootleg cover; with lackadaisical dueling vocal harmonies and reverb-drenched guitar leads reminiscent of The Cure on downers. On the whole, Myths 002 feels like a precursor to future collaborations, one which will hopefully hone in a more fully fleshed out sonic direction. There's an interesting tension throughout as Pink's emotionally distancing tendencies and deranged sense of humor are balanced by Mering's vampiric quality as a lost soul drifting through vacant auditory landscapes. For the most part, the juxtaposition works; resulting in a listening experience both pleasant and abrasive. Given the idiosyncratic talent involved, such a revelation comes as no big surprise.