Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Big Pink Return: A Review Of Future This

There's nothing original in the rock world anymore.

No more methods left to use to create shock-and-awe in a listener.

When I see the sort of band who in 1996 would have been savaged by the snarkmeisters at the NME now feted as saviors of guitar rock, I just want to stop listening to new bands altogether.

There's a lot of genuine enthusiasm shown for some musical acts on this blog but, believe me, I have to weed through a lot of crap I never intend to write about to get to the gems.

Future This by The Big Pink is a gem.

Out 16 January in Europe, 17 January in the U.S., the second album from The Big Pink is easily one of the most listenable records I've heard in months.

I'm a curmudgeon, shouting at those Interpol kids to get off my lawn while I spin my old Joy Division records -- that sort of guy -- but for all my comments about what's derivative here, the end result is a real thing of wonder, something to marvel at.

Sure, if you take this record apart like a 10th biology class frog, you'll find pieces of other bands, other sounds, you already loved.

No, the divine genius of The Big Pink is that they know how to make all those parts into a new animal.

Their only contemporaries in this fashion are those guys in The Drums, or those nerds in MGMT.

A friend criticized me 'cause I used the word derivative to describe a few new bands.

I don't mean that as an insult all the time.

I'm sure that Milo Cordell and Robbie Furze of The Big Pink would be happy to tell you what records they bought this week, what bands they followed in high school, and who rocked their boats as musical infants.

What's not derivative is the way those influences are pieced together here.

They've taken a few obvious inspirations and created something decidedly new and fresh.

Future This sounds like a dozen other bands and, remarkably, wholly distinct and vibrant.

The whole package is what is original.

If it were so easy to piece together influences in such a fashion, there'd be a dozen Big Pinks.

There ain't.

The Big Pink sound has now been defined, largely by Future This, and it's only a matter of time before some upsetters come along to try their hand at this.

Good luck.

Somehow bridging the sometimes insular world of indie rock with the broadminded needs of the pop world, The Big Pink are wizards.

Recorded and mixed by Paul Epworth and Alan Moulder, Future This sounds like the past and the future all at once.

Insanely catchy -- every tune could be a single, frankly -- the record coasts, soars, crackles, and roars with Big Tunes and Big Sounds.

Like a pre-Live Aid U2 taking over the O.M.D. songbook, Future This is soul music played by guys on machines.

It's what pop music -- I use that tag as one of praise, not shame -- should be.

One listen to the life-affirming opener "Stay Gold" should be enough to get doubters into the fold. This is great stuff.

Spiritual music for a godless world, "Stay Gold" is gospel rock for a present that feels like the End of the World sometimes.

"Hit The Ground (Superman)" sizzles like some sort of weird positive spin on early Nine Inch Nails, while "1313" reimagines Depeche Mode --- think "Everything Counts" as an anthem.

Somehow, the sound is bigger here than on the first Big Pink record. The guys have created something larger now without sacrificing anything.

"Jump Music" recalls those New Order records from the last decade but with more guitars in the mix.

"Lose Your Mind" is Fad Gadget covering Gaga. Supremely catchy, instantly memorable, gladly lodged into your brain.

Quite simply, if you enjoyed the first Big Pink record, you'll most likely love Future This. If you are unfamiliar with the band, start here.

Future This is out soon on 4AD.

Check your favorite online or real world retailer on 16 January 2012.

Follow for now here:

The Big Pink's website

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The Big Pink on Facebook

The Big Pink on 4AD