Relentless and impressively muscled...
David Renshaw

11:04 13th August 2009

The Big Pink’s hipster credentials are second to none. Prior to the band Robbie Furze and Milo Cordell were best known for running the boutique label Merok which gave debut releases to the likes of Crystal Castles, Klaxons and The Soft Pack. The pair are well connected too; Milo lives with Jack Penate and Robbie is a former squeeze of Lily Allen. Add to this the fact that Milo’s Dad produced Procol Harum’s ‘A Whiter Shade Of Pale’ and you have the ingredients for the definitive band to be dubious about.

It’s a testament to the notion of not judging a book by its cover then that The Pink’s debut LP is a heavy and gallon deep adventure into a murky darkness which sees stadium pop choruses do battle with industrial noise and an almost constant whirr of feedback. Ostensibly ‘A Brief History Of Love’ is a marriage of the cold and strong guitars of the likes of Alec Empire and Nine Inch Nails with processed beats courtesy of Cordell’s red hot laptop. This combination makes for an imposing listen, ‘A Brief History Of Love’ is lot of things but subtle isn’t one of them. It demands attention through being relentless and impressively muscled with the expensive touch of Rich Costey audible throughout from the opening waves of ‘Crystal Visions’ to the chiming reverb smothering ‘At War With The Sun’. 

When The Big Pink first emerged in 2008 they were noticeably more inaccessible than the most recent incarnation sees them. From the droning loops of ‘Too Young To Love’ to the chanted exuberance of ‘Dominos’ it has felt that every single release from the duo has seen their sound evolve getting progressively more pop-centric. This battle for supremacy is what makes The Big Pink such an attractive proposition, the fact the listener is privy to the harsh working of the music and that nothing is polished or rounded off for digestibility mixed with a melodic search for a hit chorus.  It’s essentially the musical equivalent of opening a wide screen TV and seeing the wires and fuses in circuit. Finding the warmth amidst the harsh aesthetic nature of The Big Pink is where the rewards lie in ‘A Brief History Of Love’; the way in which Furze sings “These arms are mine, don’t care who they hold.” on ‘Velvet’ to the tender introspection on ‘Love In Vain’ The Big Pink show they are really just big softies.

There is a chance that The Big Pink are a band caught between two worlds, the mainstream indie crowd who are adopting them and the experimental/ niche world they came from. Perhaps ‘A Brief History Of Love is the sound of compromise and will see the East London duo spread themselves too thin however the niche they are currently carving makes for exciting and powerful listening.