The Big Pink – A Brief History of Love (4AD) 14/09/2009

September 28, 2009 by  

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The eagerly anticipated debut by Robbie Furze and Milo Corde aka The Big Pink has been fuelled by an abundance of hype, some earth shatteringly noisy live shows and a genuine feeling of optimism from fans. A combination that is sure to have records flying of the shelf, but attaining longevity requires a lot more than a portfolio of moody band mug-shots and a place on tastemakers lips. So the question is, does ‘A Brief History of Love’ warrant all the hype or is it just another over inflated record from a equally overrated indie band?

Largely flirting with shoe-gaze and drone rock, much of the album ambles along in a shimmering mix of distorted guitars, buzzing keyboards and eerie atmospheric sounds. Opener ‘Crystal Visions’ and ‘Too Young To Love’ lay down some pretty grandiose foundations, with their epic drone rock which is accompanied by Robbie Furze equally monotone tales of love new and old. Largely produced by the duo, the only real external intervention comes from super producer Paul Epworth on ‘Dominoes’. The difference is instantly recognisable, the track does away with convoluted effects and heavy guitars, and in their place lies a heavy drum beat and catchy chorus, ‘Dominoes, Dominoes’, which ultimately provides the most direct and memorable moment of the album.

Unfortunately the rest of the album doesn’t follow suit and for the most wallows in its own sea of murky guitars and distortion pedals, making it largely unmemorable. The dreary ballad ‘Love In Vain’ sees the band take on yet another direction, and leaves them sounding more like a Richard Ashcroft tribute band than a brooding shoe-gaze act. Title track ‘A Brief History of Love’ is yet another epic love song which attempts to enthral the listener in its grandeur, but just doesn’t quite get it right, and the final nail in the coffin ‘Tonight’ is an embarrassingly shoddy attempt to jump on the electro bandwagon of 2009.

‘Velvet’ provides the albums last redeeming moment with its more direct approach and combination of crisp beats and soft backing vocals, which lull the listener in before the visceral guitars kick in, but you can’t escape the albums overall underwhelming impression.

‘A Brief History of Modern Love’ started off as an exciting prospect, but by the second half the songs begin to sound slapdash and you kind of get the feeling that they ran out of ideas toward the end.

By Rosco Thompson

Rating: ★★½☆☆

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