[album review] The Big Pink // Future This

Tympanogram Grade: D+

After the cycle of touring and singles surrounding their 2009 debut, A Brief History of Love, The Big Pink went silent, working on the follow-up. The resulting album, Future This, was released yesterday through 4AD, who signed the duo prior to their debut full-length.

Future This starts out promisingly, with “Stay Gold,” the obvious first single from the album. The Big Pink is at their best when they’re at their catchiest, and “Stay Gold” is instantly memorable. It’s loud, bombastic, and sunnier than the band was on the debut. It’s easily the best track on the album, however, and things unravel quickly over the rest of the album’s ten songs.

The third track, “Give It Up,” is indicative of the album’s problems as a whole. It boasts a faux-hip hop beat that’s not particularly interesting, and the song itself is filled with unmemorable catch phrases, imploring the target to “give it up for me / make your move / get after it.” If The Big Pink are interested in soundtracking self-help seminars, that’s the type of lyricism that will get them there. Beyond that realm, however, their bland songwriting, even if it is dressed up in pyrotechnic electro, leaves much to be desired.

That’s not to say everything on Future This is that uninteresting. Furze and Cordell are adept as musicians, and the album benefits (slightly) from the texture that the twosome gives their songs. There is a lot to take in, even if it all isn’t particularly noteworthy. But in the end, Future This ends up sounding like a single forty-five minute long song, without much in the way of defining one track from the next. The Big Pink were signed based on their singles, and that’s what they remain good at. They’re essentially a singles machine; when it comes to a cohesive, continuous album, the pair falters.

The pair’s move to a centrist, radio-friendlier domain didn’t do them any favors. The Big Pink would have been better served retaining the darker undercurrent that they cultivated on A Brief History of Love. Future This sounds, in the end, more like their contemporaries in the indie electro rock scene rather than the new pioneers that the London outfit could be.

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The Big Pink – Stay Gold by thebigpink