I haven’t really enjoyed any previous Ariel Pink albums. Admittedly, I got too annoyed by the lo-fi production and whiney vocals to give them much patience, so I guess liking this album amounts to me being a fickle trend-riding motherfucker (so I’ve read elsewhere).

Instead of loading his music with self-conscious distressed production to instill a sense of nostalgia, on this record Ariel Pink relies on classic sounding song-writing, from the halcyon days when it wasn’t vaguely uncool to write great simple songs. From my previous estimation of the music, it is almost hard to accept that there is not some pseudo-hipster irony going on, such is the unashamed accessibility of it all.

Bright Lit Blue Skies is a perfect summer anthem, an immediate go-to track for when the sun is shining. He even captures the vintage pop of Belle and Sebastian on L’estat. I could have scarcely believed Round and Round was written by Ariel Pink before this release such is the light touch of production. It seems to borrow the bass line from Broken English by Marianne Faithful. But, despite its anthemic chorus and simple rhythm, to call it straightforward pop is a bit of a misnomer as the structure remains unorthodox, and it still retains that Ariel Pink weird vibe and hazy edges. Due to the huge variation and classic sound displayed over the 12 tracks you could pick out ‘sounds-likes’ for some time; Fleetwood Mac, Animal Collective, Prince, even Joy Division. Lyrics are playful, ranging from knowingly cheesy (I Can’t Feel My Eyes) to characteristically odd (Menopause Man). Ariel Pink’s albums often feel like listening to a crackly old radio twenty years ago, but instead of the lousy reception of old, now you get digital clarity. This new approach is bound to be divisive amongst longtime fans.

I’ll keep this brief, there is a crazy amount of writing on the web regarding Before Today. Supposedly, one google search amounts to the same energy usage as fully charging a mobile phone. If so, Before Today represents a major concern for global warming. That’s about the only negative thing I can think of to write about this album. I acknowledge the opinions above contradict a lot of the stuff I write on these pages; I do love a bit of deteriorated, lo-fi music. The hi-fi production and full backing band that working with a major indie label affords certainly suit Ariel Pink though. The fact that Before Today looks backwards in terms of aesthetic should not put you off this album, it is an explosion of unbridled joyousness and creativity.