Even the the most resilient defenders of the shoegazing scene would have to admit that it’s a genre where the music sometimes gets lost in a haze of effects. Yet in the case of London’s The Big Pink, this time the haze is empowered by a Brit-rock swagger. Their own band name and album title indicate a level of ambition high above an underground fanbase and ‘A Brief History Of Love’ is a brash, confident debut on any musical terms.
‘Too Young To Love’ features robust dance beats to create a weird kind of hippy/rave hybrid. ‘Dominos’, easily the most commercial offering from the album, is danceable, anthemic and uses an “in your face” chorus. It’s probably worth pointing out at this stage that one half of the duo, Milo Cordell, established the Merok label which unearthed Klaxons and Crystal Castles releases amongst others and everything about The Big Pink sounds equally “now”.
Second single ‘Velvet’ is another strident song; its looped female backing vocals adding an ethereal counterpoint to the industrial size beats and ‘Frisk’ is just as memorable and possibly even more laden with hooks. ‘Love In Vain’ turns the volume and speed dials down a few notches and here Robbie Furze’s vocal is as soulful and confident as Richard Ashcroft whilst the title track is a virtual ballad with distortion adding an eeriness to this gracefully brooding number.
Although by no means perfect this is an album which reaffirms the belief that 4AD (a label which has somewhat lost its identity over the last decade) are still capable of producing great new artists. The Big Pink also have the potential to crossover into more popular circles whilst still retaining their edge and credibility.
The Verve, Klaxons