In the '00s, Ariel Pink home-recorded a number of murky and intriguing cassettes. Cobbling together several influences but transcending the hollowness of pure retro imitation, Pink created wonderfully eccentric pop. With the 2010 release of his 4AD debut, Before Today, his distinct songwriting and arranging skills were professionally produced for the first time, and the results were impressive. (His band, Haunted Graffiti, is perfectly tuned into Pink’s aesthetic.) 2012’s Mature Themes is a fine follow-up. The Beverly Hills native has always had a zany side, and it's in evidence here. (Some passages evoke Frank Zappa, another musician with a wiseass sense of humor and a taste for pastiche.) The album opens strongly with “Kinski Assassin,” which features a delightful sense of wordplay and a hook that stays with you. A number of other songs are good, and Mature Themes closes strongly with a cover of Donnie & Joe Emerson’s “Baby.” The original could almost be a '60s low-rider ballad, but it actually was recorded in the late '70s in the Pacific Northwest. Pink’s version nicely echoes the dreaminess of the Emersons’ smooth jam.