The Archduke of indie’s 2002 album was recently remastered and reissued, both digitally and on vinyl. House Arrest is among Pink’s albums being renewed by Mexican Summer, encompassing the virtual tome of material released during the “Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti” era, the touring/recording band with which his records were made until 2014. House Arrest was reissued alongside The Doldrums and Worn Copy, while Oddities Sodomies Vol.2, Underground and Lover Boy were previously added to the “Ariel Archives”. In comparison to the later releases of this period, most notably the pristine, studio quality of Before Today, House Arrest is an unequivocally DIY affair.
Jangly, exuberant guitar strums pervade the album, so jangly that they wouldn’t be amiss on an undiscovered “Smiths” recording. This is especially so with cuts such as the title track, despite it being slightly swallowed by the other instruments and clumsy but charismatic production.
Pink (Ariel Rosenberg) soars at his zany heights here, as one of the many records to come out of his maniacally prolific ’96-’03 writing and recording period. There are many such moments populating the tracks, but perhaps the zaniest of the zany is Pink’s Rasta accent upon “Every Night I Die at Miyagis”; spouting platitudes of “I’m crazy like Gideon ha-ha! I chomp on punani, bloody vagina, me feast on placenta”, an esoteric reference to a character from the Hebrew Bible, who faces an army of several thousand with one of a mere 300. Pink uses this as a somewhat crass, or otherwise artistic, allusion to the euphoria of orgasm; truly summarising the eclecticism of both his musical and lyrical inspirations.
The woozy production and nigh falsettos of “Helen”, upon first listen, are undeniably dissonant on the ears but later become sweet and almost choral.
Tracks like “Getting High In The Morning” and the lengthy “Netherlands” are charmingly Zappa in their structures, instrumentation and tone, meaning “House Arrest” succeeds overwhelmingly where many of the pop pastiches of future records like Before Today haven’t. Therefore, House Arrest strikes as one of the most authentic AP records. Further still, the majority of the album’s idiosyncrasies still befuddle the listener entertainingly, almost two decades from its original release.