Album review: The Big Pink – Future This

April 16, 2012

The Big Pink - Future ThisTitle: Future This
Artist: The Big Pink
Label: 4AD
Released: January 2012
In one word: Meek

In 2009, UK electro rock noise-merchants The Big Pink arrived on the scene with a bold and swaggering debut, A Brief History of Love. It was a very solid debut record, which came with a stand-out anthem “Dominos” – a song which united crowds of lads and lasses with lager-fueled bravado at gigs around the world. After seeing them in concert a couple of times, I felt The Big Pink’s live shows fell a little flat in places… they were just lacking a bit of material. I wrote about this in March 2010, after seeing The Big Pink in Toronto for the second time in 4 months – at that point I was eagerly waiting their next album.

Future This is the new LP from Robbie Furze and Milo Cordell. To my ears, it’s proven to be another case of the notoriously difficult second album hoodoo striking with vengeance. The Big Pink came out swinging with their first record but the tone of Future This is much less bold. Things start nicely enough, with the opening track “Stay Gold” being this album’s equivalent of “Dominos” – a feel good anthem, ready made for concert halls… albeit quite not on the same level as “Dominos”. Electronica ballads are still all over the shop, and things sound all nice and polished, with the record produced by Paul Epworth (Adele, Bloc Party, Primal Scream) and mixed by Alan Moulder (U2, NIN, Depeche Mode). “Lose Your Mind” is probably the best example of The Big Pink’s pushing their sound into soft-pop electro shoegaze territory on this album, with this which has a very big Duran Duran vibe about it.

Having a decent producer can only help you so much if the actual songs are that interesting, and is my problem with Future This – it’s just not a very exciting record. A Brief History of Love, was a sock-rocking, loud, laddish and stomping electronic rock record in comparison Future This is a misstep: a shuffling, meek pebble-kicker of an album which never quite finds its way out of its own electro haze. It’s just not the same bold Big Pink that I first became a fan of. Rather than singing about girls falling like dominos and ‘200 naked pure gold girls’ (“Crysal Visions”), The Big Pink have gone a lot softer with their second album. This softer side only really works with the last track, “77”, which, with “Stay Gold”, is the other top song on this album. In “77” Furze sings with pained regret about a lost lover, and unlike in other places “Rubbernecking”, Furze’s mourning over being fucked up over losing a girl, actually sort of works. But only so far… and it’s not the deepest lyrical content either. When Furze was once singing songs that were the perfect soundtrack for galvanizing yourself with bravado before heading out on a Friday night for drinks and chasing girls, he now seems intent to be showing his hurt, sensitive side… it doesn’t pass. I never wanted to see the sensitive side of The Big Pink. Seriously, can’t one rock and roll band just stay rock and roll?

© Brian Banks, Editor, Music Vice

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Brian Banks

Editor and Founder, Music Vice Magazine. Writer. Photographer. Poet. From Scotland. Not Ireland. Proudly based in Toronto, Canada. Rock N' Roll Don't Pay The Rent... 

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