first impressions: the big pink – a brief history of love

* this first impression was made possible by the band themselves, who streamed the album for free on their website a few weeks ago.

i meant to get this up earlier in the week but what are you going to do? the album isn’t out yet so this still counts as a first impression. full review after the jump…

the uk press has been building this duo up for months as “the band to watch.” you know. them and basically everyone else with a british birth certificate to release a single within the last year. but all cynicism aside, there is good reason to pay attention to these guys. robbie furze has played guitar for alec empire and milo cordell fostered the likes of the klaxons and the teenagers among others as founder of merok records.

each member of the big pink brings their respective experience to the table on their debut, a brief history of love, and for the most part, it pays off splendidly. one can assume that cordell’s work with his label is at least partially responsible for the commanding sense of melody and pop savvy that permeates the record, while furze’s work with empire seems responsible for the harsh electronic undercurrents on several of the songs, not to mention the explosive intensity of their choruses.

“too young to love,” an early teaser single that resurfaces here in slightly more polished form, is arguably the most textbook consolidation of these strengths. over stuttering programmed drums and squalling feedback, the song plays like one long extended chorus, tailor-made for maximum volume at shows. the other buzz track (and still the pink’s best achievement to date) “velvet” employs all of the same elements in an almost completely different way. the drum loops are more languid, and the guitar squalor more restrained and used to punctuate the gorgeously swooning vocals. one couldn’t be blamed for recalling early verve on initial listens, but i don’t remember ashcroft ever sounding this sincere or unassuming.

most of the other songs heed to either one side of the pink spectrum or the other, never quite matching these previous heights but still coming pretty damn close at best and deserving admiration for trying at worst. opener “crystal visions” is what stone roses’ second coming could and should have sounded like. “dominos” compresses “velvet’s” throb into a radio-ready nugget with a delightully dumb sentiment at its core (“these girls fall like dominoooooes!”). the title track and closing “count backwards from ten” scale back the industrial touches, opting instead for hazy, spaceman 3 territory, and provide most welcome changes of pace, particularly the former with its anonymous, hope sandoval-esque vocal accompaniment (anyone else hear the album and know who she is yet? please tell me).

equal parts brit-pop, m83, and my bloody valentine, it’s no surprise that the big pink have found and made a home at 4ad. there’s an oddly nostalgic quality to this record that fits their aesthetic and history perfectly while also offering glimpses at what till hopefully be a long and fulfilling career for one of the year’s more promising upstarts.

a brief history of love is out on 9/8. here is the video for the aforementioned “dominoes.” rad stuff it is.


One Response to “first impressions: the big pink – a brief history of love”

  1. E. Says:

    I wasn't that into them when I first heard "Velvet," but I'm thoroughly impressed with this album. I'll be reviewing it in a little while, too!

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