The Big Pink : Future This
In a courageous sophomore effort three years in the making since their buzzed debut, A Brief History Of Love, The Big Pink bring Future This; an equally big-sounding release full of driving melodies and loaded beats that make for a worthy foray into pop anthem territory.
The first track Stay Gold is the leading single, and also the strongest of a bunch of genre-defying and very well thought-out tracks that refuse to be pigeonholed. Early on in the album, a subtle hip hop influence seeps its way into almost every melody, creating a strong backbone of propelling beats that pack a punch. Once noticed, the hip hop imprint can be found in a number of incarnations throughout the album, from the cover art (an ode to graffiti street art), to a taste in tracks like Give It Up and album closer 77, which show off the band’s experimentation with samples.
Live drums in the recording process have become almost obsolete, with the Pink’s Milo Cordell and Robbie Furze having seemingly spent considerable time playing with new techniques in beat-making with producer Paul Epworth (Friendly Fires, Florence And The Machine, Adele) before adding guitar almost as an afterthought to the electro-heavy second offering.
While they have clearly taken a new direction in their approach, tracks like 1313, along with the softer title track Future This, leave a welcome glimpse of what remains of The Big Pink’s somewhat signature sound of expansive synth and a tendency for ‘big’ echoey choruses generously dripping in reverb and drawn-out guitar fuzz. Furze’s distinctive vocals remain a highlight throughout, with tracks like Lose Your Mind and second single Hit The Ground (Superman) showcasing his resounding and freshly-trained vocal styling’s and yearning, yet refreshingly positive lyricism that make for an almost retrospective feel to the release.
What rounds out Future This, is the positive upbeat balladry of tracks like Jump Music and strong single contender Rubbernecking. With the ability to get dance floors moving with almost orchestral synth and chanting hooks for the standard soaring chorus, these tracks bring a sense of immediacy to the record that indicates an evolution for the band wanting to move into more chart-topping heights.
Future This may certainly do just that; bring The Big Pink into a more accessible musical sphere with a new brand of catchy, sing-along indie-electro pop that has been dished out with their second full-length. The release is very carefully constructed, and at times feels somewhat contrived in an attempt to recreate the unexpected success of 2009’s Dominos. Furze’s lyrics are always hopelessly poetic and honest, but perhaps it is the lack of drawling, fuzzed-out guitars and more emphasis on electronic sounds that make the effort seem shallow and formulaic. In comparison to A Brief History Of Love, with its resounding vocal harmonies, loud, ambient guitar riffs, subtle moments of light and shade and its ability to have created an addictive and emotive soundtrack, Future This simply lacks ‘heart’. With each and every one of the ten tracks trying hard to stand alone as possible chart contenders, the album’s journey is almost frantic and dare I say it, generic.
However, in what may be easy upon the first listen to write off as an uninspired attempt to comply to an imaginary hit-song formula, Future This is an insight into a new direction for a band that are yet to really define their sound. Identity issues aside, this album is definitely a more focused output that hints at an ever so adventurous and risk-taking side to The Big Pink. Perhaps no longer experimental in sound, but definitely in attitude, Furze and Cordell should be commended for simply making music the way they want to.
BY TEGAN BUTLER
Best Track: Stay Gold
If You Like These, You’ll Like This: THE STONE ROSES, THE BRAVERY
In A Word: Climatic