No doubt about it, Ariel Pink has hit on quite a unique sound. Yet then again it takes a strange mind to mangle 1960s/1970s pop music, sing it in a mentally unhinged fashion and then record the whole experience on the most primitive equipment. The skill really is in making it all strangely listenable and perhaps even lovable. The scene is set on the cover art as blurred photographic images recall the days of shocking low-budget horror films like 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre'. Thankfully Pink's music may be short on production frills but surprisingly high on addictive qualities.
As it happens, 'House Arrest' is arguably his most coherent offering yet. Opening with the crazed pop of 'Hardcore Pops Are Fun' and 'Interesting Results' the grasp of melody is undeniable. Two of the most effective songs are odes to females called 'Helen' and 'Alisa' but as usual these are twisted love songs; the latter boasting a chorus "You're in my heart, you're in my dreams, you're in my soul" so eerily delivered it's feasible to believe the next line could be "You're in my basement in a permanent state of unconsciousness". Delving further into the record, 'The People I'm Not' bears echoes of an early 1960s beat group but - just like the chilling piano ballad 'Oceans Of Weep' - this is pop music of the very darkest hue. In fact, only on the psychedelic mess of 'Gettin' High In The Morning' does Pink's imagination get the better of him. Otherwise its a listening experience of a most macabre, unsettling yet ultimately thrilling kind.