The Big Pink - Future This - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

The Big Pink - Future This

by Rich Morris Rating:4 Release Date:2012-01-16

The Big Pink started off as a kind of homoerotic electro-shoegaze duo whose early songs, such as 'Velvet', boasted glittering, Soho-at-3am synths submerged beneath liberally applied guitar sludge. They had previous with Berlin techno-terrorist Alec Empire, signed to 4AD and were briefly the band name to drop. Then came 'Dominos', with its anthemic, howl-along chorus and suburban teen boy fantasy fulfilment lyrics and The Big Pink could lay claim to the art-house no more.

So what do Milo Cordell and Robbie Furze do with album two? Do they petulantly try to claw back their alt-status with experimental soundscapes and hard-to-love noise? Or do they stick to the trajectory they're now on, power-chording their way further into the mainstream? Approximately 20 seconds into first track and single 'Stay Gold', you get your answer. Following some overloaded keyboard noodling reminiscent of Depeche Mode circa Songs of Faith & Devotion, The Big Pink unleash the guitar and give us what basically amounts to both a declaration of intent and the first of several attempts to repeat 'Dominos' pretty much blow-for-blow.

There's a definite formula at work on Future This. Almost every song stars with a brief patch of arty, synthy scene-setting before the boys go straight for the arena jugular. The mix combines Simple Minds in their mid-80s pomp (and could you get a more Simple Minds-esque song title than 'Stay Gold'?), a bit of early-90s U2, some Killers, some Hurts-style blandness, a fair sized drizzle of Stone Roses, and a splash of Hard-Fi desperation.

Their big play for a hit is 'Hit the Ground (Superman)', and it's perfectly formed for doing the business. It virtually whacks you round the chops with its obviousness and willingness to repeat the trick of 'Dominos': they even chuck in another lyric about falling. Throughout Future This, the lyrics are a serious problem, reaching Gallagher levels of inanity on 'Lose Your Mind', a song which features this stunner: "I wanna be great/ I wanna be adored" in amongst some more lyrics about falling and an endlessly repeated declaration to "do it all alone." Musically, however, 'Lose Your Mind' does at least sound feistier and less calculated then the rest of Future This, featuring a tempo change in the chorus and a big old hair metal guitar solo. It makes you think that if The Big Pink really are so determined to be a massive, this is how to go about it.

Ultimately, the real problem with this album is not that The Big Pink have sold out whatever cred they might have previously held - who cares, right? - but that they've made such a lazy, botched job of doing it. It's like they didn't have faith in their ability to come up with another crossover hit and so joylessly imposed a formula on themselves. What they've produced is not only creatively unambitious and disappointingly safe but also largely unmemorable. For a band who clearly can't wait for the big time to hit, that's a serious failing.

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