For a very long time, SSION mastermind Cody Critcheloe and Ariel Pink have been traveling vaguely parallel paths in the world of DIY underground pop music. More than 20 years ago, Critcheloe started making his own warped, personal versions of slick, shimmering studio-pop. Not long afterward, Pink started making his own stranger versions of those songs. Over the years, both have managed to become slicker themselves, but they’ve done it without compromising the weirdness at the heart of their music. And now they’ve come together.
Later this year, Critcheloe will release O, his first album as SSION in seven years. Late last year, he shared his eye-popping video for the new track “Comeback,” and yesterday, he dropped a lovely cover of the Roy Orbison oldie “Big As I Can Dream.” Today, he and Ariel Pink have teamed up for a new duet called “At Least The Sky Is Blue.”
The song is just as wriggly and corroded a pop experiment as you’d hope from these two. It’s got a smooth, vaguely sinister sheen to it, and it’s got lyrics about Diet Coke and ketamine. Critcheloe’s confident purr meshes nicely with Pink’s damaged falsetto. It’s a pretty song, in a seasick sort of way, and you can hear it below.