Release Date: Jan 16, 2012
Record label: 4AD
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
The Big Pink made splashes all over the Brit rags with their single “Dominos” in 2009, leaving our Stateside ears ringing with its catchy chorus. Future This delivers the same formula, but does so with perhaps one too many tracks. The album fully breaks open on track four, “The Palace,” and takes a positive leap with “1313,” a song as uplifting as it is subversive (check out that distortion!).
Are the Big Pink young enough to have grown up on their parents’ Jesus and Mary Chain records? Sure sounds like it on Future This. The U.K. duo’s latest, produced by indie kingmaker Paul Epworth (Adele), updates the best of ’80s shoegaze with breakbeat rhythms and arena-worthy choruses. On the title track, frontman Robbie Furze finds love washing over him ”in a soft explosion.” Which isn’t a bad way to describe getting swept up in their massive pop hooks.
Sampled by Nicki Minaj and featured on high-profile ad campaigns for both the Xbox 360 and the U.S. version of Skins, London noise-rock duo the Big Pink's breakthrough single, "Dominos," was something of an anomaly on their 2009 debut A Brief History of Love, its sky-scraping chorus and punchy Wall of Sound providing a rare moment of radio-friendly pop among a haze of feedback-drenched shoegaze and distorted fuzz-rock. Perhaps keen to avoid their one-hit wonder status, follow-up Future This eschews their original experimental ambitions by shamelessly attempting to repeat its success.
“I wanna be great, I wanna be adored,” sings Robbie Furze on the Big Pink’s sophomore effort, Future This, invoking a guitar-drenched classic by the Stone Roses. The funny thing is that Furze and his creative partner, Milo Cordell, spend most of the album trying to distance themselves from the common lineage they share with the Roses that they established on their debut. On said debut, the modestly-titled A Brief History of Love, these guys scarcely looked up from their guitar pedals to trigger the next drum loop and deliver an indelible hook before diving back into the echo and fuzz.
It's actually kinda disheartening to think that The Big Pink have yet to cross over into chart-bound profitability. It certainly isn't for lack of trying; their ballsy 2009 debut, A Brief History of Love, was so thoroughly packed with confident hooks some writers were almost offended by the duo's perceived arrogance. How could two Londoners stand where the giants of Oasis and The Verve once stood and feel at home? It doesn't matter, because they aren't moving.
As bold statements of intent go, they don't come much bolder than calling your album Future This - it almost implies said record represents some kind of year zero. A cut off from the past, the future starts here. Which is a refreshing change from the never ending onslaught of washed up homegrown bands bemoaning the supposed 'death of guitar music' on these shores.
The Big Pink’s latest LP Future This picks up more or less where 2009’s A Brief History of Love left off. While this new batch doesn’t have anything as catchy as “Dominoes” or contemplative as “Velvet,” The Big Pink dials up its flair for Cure-esque anthemic ‘80s-pop right off the bat with a one-two opening salvo of “Stay Gold” and “Hit The Ground (Superman).” On “Give it Up” Furze and Cordell get blippy with their electrodes and a could-be female chorus which I suspect is their voices modulated to high heaven. Speaking of voices, Furze’s vox are sounding more like Ben Bridwell of Band of Horses than ever before.
Milo Cordell, one-half of London scenester duo the Big Pink, said in recent interviews that the key to making Future This was zeroing in on what worked best on their debut smash, A Brief History Of Love. In other words, replicate and magnify the big-chorus-anthem pattern from Dominos and Velvet. The result is an album with chart-worthy songs that are uncomfortably familiar at times and a touch low on risk.Beat-driven opener Stay Gold best exemplifies this: the chorus that drops in clearly resembles Dominos.
God knows what possessed them to say it. But since [a]The Big Pink[/a] have now disowned their claim that [b]‘Future This’[/b] is some kind of hip-hop record, the question of why bands frequently feel the need to announce moves in every direction except the one they’re actually taking (hello, Persil-white indie-rock!) can be chewed over some other day. In any case, Robbie Furze and Milo Cordell’s second album isn’t done for by a lack of ambition, but rather the imagination required to realise it.First though, what works.
Sonically, the Big Pink's 2009 debut delivered. A Brief History of Love's titanic choruses, huge production, and maxed-out volume were designed to explode on the radio. Though they didn't sound like Britpop, the term was applied anyway because the Big Pink seemed in the swaggering lineage of bands like Oasis, the Verve, and Mansun. But bands who emerge so fully formed sometimes lack staying power and, considering Big Pink co-founder Milo Cordell's roots running Merok Records during the cultural peak of blog-house and nu-rave, the band had to be aware of their potential limitations.
Future This, the new album from London duo The Big Pink, goes decidedly — and somewhat oddly — against what one might expect from a second album, especially from a band that issued a debut of massive-sounding sonic proportions back in 2009, the much-lauded but still critically controversial A Brief History of Love. Unlike that first album, there is no opener to match the powerful, portentous gravity of “Crystal Visions” or, for that matter, any tracks that rival the near-brutal ferocity of “Velvet” or the anguished high drama of its title track. Future This differs from the band’s previous album considerably and on various levels.
There was a marked difference between the first and second time I heard the Big Pink’s “Dominos,” the lead single off their 2009 debut, A Brief History of Love. The former was during a late-night iTunes browsing session, when the London duo’s electro-pop anthem sounded almost majestic—brash, drunken, and buzzing with a monstrous, low-end synth. The second time was while watching a rather formulaic car commercial some months later, and the track suddenly sounded painfully ordinary as fodder for a handful of rain-slicked, slow-mo shots.
Review Summary: The Big Pink scale down the style on which they were founded and turn the epic factor up...way up.Imagine for a moment that the Shins collaborate with MGMT to make a hands-in-the-air, no-frills-held arena synth-pop album. That’s the best way I can describe The Big Pink’s sophomore effort Future This - a record that, quite frankly, may be too damn anthemic for its own good. Its atmosphere is rich and vibrant, indulging in the elasticity of its electronic elements while somehow also remaining firmly entrenched in indie pop know-how.
At its best, The Big Pink's first album was a patchwork of fuzz and scuzz, but it was the bombastic pop of Dominos that took them beyond their east London enclave and into the charts. It makes sense, in a way, that much of this followup sounds like it's aiming to replicate the feel of that radio-friendly unit-shifter rather than the dreamy haze of early songs like Velvet. Occasionally it works.
For those of us long enough in the tooth to have actually lived through the 1980s, the current obsession in the retro industry for that decade can seem somewhat perplexing. With the benefit of hindsight of course, there was a great deal of really great mainstream pop music around that is worth revisiting (I’m not even going down the ‘alternative’ road – that’s a whole other story). But at the time the charts seemed dominated by the Stock, Aitken and Waterman axis of evil, as well as other insidiously catchy but ultimately vacuous synth based pop.
With a pair of garishly overblown indie-pop anthems( “Velvet”, “Dominos”), The Big Pink stormed the charts and critics’ year-end-lists back in 2009 with their superb first album, A Brief History of Love. While they proved much more successful with the latter track (only “Dominos” charted, peaking at a modest #27 on the UK Top 40), the overall brazen ambition of that debut won the young pair of Britons – who are, for the record, Milo Cordell and Robbie Furze – the usual shower of comparisons to the usual smattering of their native forebears (The Cure, Joy Division, et al. ) from the notoriously hype-happy British music press.
The Big PinkFuture This[4AD; 2012]By Erik Burg; January 16, 2012Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGTweetLooking back on it, I guess the title should have been a good indication of what to expect from the newest Big Pink album, but it wasn’t until I had to spend what seemed like unending amounts of time with Future This that I finally figured it out. The Big Pink apparently think that the future is, like, really futuristic. They want listeners to think they’re cool dudes, and that their music is accessible and fun.
From watching the making of Future This on the Big Pink’s Youtube, you can tell that in the process of recording its second album, the band did a lot of experimentation with different instruments and sounds. This is a change from the rock-oriented sound that the band executed on its 2009 album, A Brief History Of Love. However, Future This, out January 17 on 4AD, is not that big a departure from the aesthetic that the Big Pink fans have come to expect.
"We're all made of gold!" Yay! We actually are! I can feel it. The gold, that is, IN ME! Wait, what? Are we gold? I'm not. Actually...it would solve those pesky bedroom problems. If, literally, I was made of gold. Hang on, gold is a soft metal. Never mind. The point is.... positivity is the new ….
Welcome to Difficult Second Album syndrome, delivered in typical Big Pink style. Martin Aston 2012 "Making noise" was UK duo Milo Cordell and Robbie Furze’s initial remit, with Furze’s former alliance with Berlin techno-punk ‘terrorist’ Alec Empire hinting at a possible template. So The Big Pink’s wall-of-sound pop classicism over synchronised, stomping beats came as a shock.
The Big Pink’s ongoing battle to reclaim pop can’t be said to be a winning one. With first single ‘Stay Gold’ failing to chart it could be said The Big Pink’s rather short-lived commercial heyday has come to an end. However, an album’s pedigree is not judged by chart positions so onwards and upwards we go. With a name coined from an 80s skateboard company’s slogan, ‘Future This’ is a continuation of The Big Pink’s uphill odd-pop crusade.Opening with circuit-bent keyboards and wall-of-sound guitars, first taster ‘Stay Gold’ is a confident announcement of The Big Pink’s return, the closest you’ll find here the duo’s past glories.
The Big Pink represent far more than simply the duo behind the admittedly fantastic earworm single "Dominos" from their 2009 release A Brief History Of Love. That album and Future This, their second full-length, places the band as one of the main representatives of the radical shift that the indie rock scene—and their label, 4AD, in particular—has taken over the last decade.During the first 20 years of 4AD's existence, seeing their imprint on an album was a guarantee that you were going to hear some of the most idiosyncratic and daring pop or rock music around. These days, though, the label seems to be playing it safe.