Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Album Review: The Big Pink - Future This


The new year has begun and avid music fans have been left in purgatory. With the promise of so many big names and long-awaited albums, the first quarter of the year probably seems duller than it actually is. Some anticipated albums have already hit shelves, and none have fans more split than The Big Pink’s sophomore album, Future This. While not entirely avoiding the sophomore slump, the album shows flashes of brilliance in between some inopportune and lackluster moments. The duo consisting of Robbie Furze and Milo Cordell have crafted a record that relies much heavier on pop structures than their highly lauded debut, A Brief History of Love.

“Stay Gold” starts the album out with a bright number that is as strong of a pop song as you will hear so far this year. They go for the one-two punch with “Hit the Gound (Superman)” which is just as catchy if not more so than its predecessor. The track samples Laurie Anderson's 1981 hit single with striking success. It’s clear that The Big Pink were pleased with the success of their single “Dominoes” from their debut and they are more than willing to try and mimic its achievement. The aforementioned song was sampled by Nicki Minaj and featured on ad campaigns as well as television shows. It is easy to imagine that the same success can be had with either one of these first two tracks.

Unfortunately, they stammer back after dealing the initial blows. “Give It Up” starts promising with a big trip-hop beat but it gets bogged down by a contrived chorus and uninspired vocal melodies. “The Palace” has the band gaining their footing again with a track that builds steadily on layers of shimmering synths. The highpoint of the record is “1313”. It is structured on layers of hissing noise and thunderous low end yet has a soaring chorus that bests the more accessible tracks. “Rubbernecking” follows suit with another memorable and intricate arrangement. It would probably serve them well to make it the next single. The band sound cheerier than ever and it works for them in this instance. The same cannot be said for the painfully tacky “Jump Music”.

Their willingness to embrace pop didn’t come as a complete surprise. After all, they were known for the occasional BeyoncĂ© cover. The immense and slick sound was no shock either as it has been produced by Paul Epworth (Adele, Florence & The Machine, Foster the People). Still, it’s hard for me not to be let down by this one. A Brief History of Love was one of my favorite records of 2009 and I was hoping they would take a more adventurous route with their songwriting. Instead, they took the straight and narrow path. I’d be surprised if I am listening to more than a few of these tracks by the end of the year. That being said, the ones that do merit repeated plays aren’t going to lose their appeal anytime soon. There can certainly be worse songs taking over the airwaves and you can’t blame a band for sounding happy if they are in a better place. Can you?

3.0 / 5.0

Favorite Track: “1313”

If you are curious to learn more about these songs, Spin has a track-by-track breakdown.







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