The Big Pink - Future This (4AD)
January 16, 2012
Beginning with the kind of heavily textured keyboard hook that Milo Cordell made his own last time out on A Brief History of Love, The Big Pink stamp familiar elements all over 'Stay Gold', the opener to their new offering. The album has come with a lot of talk about what they want to achieve, and the track that gets it underway is a natural choice for a lead single - the kind of instinctively anthemic track that bought them attention from the beginning.
What we don't have, as the next few songs gradually ease the listener down from that lofty beginning, is the kind of feedback-dominated Wall of Sound approach that the guitar playing of Robbie Furze bought to the table on their last long release. The duo have stated an ambition to pursue their self-coined 'alternative pop' mantra with a different set of tools this time round - a soft jazz keyboard accompaniment, for example, underpins 'Give It Up'. The last moments of '1313' are perhaps the only part of the record where we hear their older sound, and that comes after an intricate juxtaposition of human and electronic drumbeats with subtle keyboard lines sitting in the background.
It's early in the second half where the real action is though. Another big electronic melody kicks off 'Rubbernecking', which blossoms into an explosive, joyous anthem. Its successor 'Jump Music' raises the tempo, and will get even the most leaden-footed dancing around bedrooms across the land. 'Lose Your Mind', with its addictive synthesiser melody and surging Duran Duran-styled chorus, is another crowd pleaser in waiting.
As the band close out with the downbeat '77' - a common theme of both their records - you are left to reflect on a record bursting with ideas - refreshingly different, yet familiar at the same time. It promises to be a treat to hear live, and it is clear that Furze and Cordell have plenty more in the locker.
words: Steve Welch
The Big Pink tour the UK in February and March.