October 2002,
by Ben Ohmart

From new wave to salsa, Ariel's album shines with a self-made brilliance that screams of David Bowie: that individual personality and way of singing and composing that artistically takes a step back from what's going down in radio and says significantly, 'Take a look here.'

Sometimes listening to this guy is like sticking your head in a Neil Young album for the first time - takes a little bit of time to get used to it. That's the way I felt when 'Neverland' began its 60s shake: like I'm entering a Different kind of kid's party, where I know I'll never be hurt, and yet, there's something screwy goin' on here*

By the time you've heard these 11 twice, the influences of so many ideas and artists will be growing all over you. The title track easily steals some of the best notions from Beatles and Beach Boys as well as a sort of 80s punk gloss without the meanness.

Like listening to a puzzle, Ariel's style of play will reveal itself more quickly to nimble minds of music who think they see the picture before it's fully revealed. He goes all over the musical map, even with Latin, so it's hard to say if Ariel is searching for himself or, like Zappa, Prince and the rest of the prolific composers, if he's simply fooling around with every direction he loves in equal proportion. Doesn't really matter anyway. He's worth a listen.

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