Future This – The Big Pink

Heavy Yet Light

The Big Pink’s Future This is a sea change, an unfortunate development musically but a positive one commercially. Their last album, A Brief History of Love, has an unmistakable and admitted extensiveness to it, a veritable noise and thematic experiment. And it works as an album, even without coherency. What one hears with Future This is a rejection of that inexplicable flavor in favor of more mainstream sounds. With Future This the Big Pink seem to have their future in mind, aiming to reach the more-stadium rock status of acts like Kings of Leon and Foster the People.

Their choice of producer, Paul Epworth, is the most convincing evidence of this. Epworth, coming off producing Adele’s 21,  Foster the People’s Torches, and Florence and the Machine’s Ceremonials, knows a thing or two about giving bands a sound that caters to the currents of music. This is not to say that Future This in any way resembles the sounds of those bands—The Big Pink did not abandon their identity entirely—but it does take the edge off. And it just seems less authentic and sharp than A Brief History of Love.

The first song off the album, “Stay Gold,” is a blatant attempt to recapture the excellence of “Dominos.” “Stay Gold,” however, is still quite enjoyable. The rest of the album plays like a combination of The Rapture with The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, with maybe the pop sensibilities of The Drums, only much louder. Songs like “Give It Up” has a distinctive psych-folk and electronica sound, yet it is relegated to the bass–a reminder of The Big Pink of old but beneath a friendlier veneer. The middle portion of the album lags a bit, making it tough to keep interest or differentiate the songs. Here, the loudness becomes something of a crutch and serves as an imperfect mask for rather uninspired songwriting. The fifth track, “1313”, is emblematic of The Big Pink’s move toward accessibility, wherein it distorts only for a bit and then returns to harmony, all the while driven by heavy guitars. Though “1313″ most resembles their previous work, the entire album seems to be an effort to harmonize the explosive power of A Brief History of Love, leading ultimately to sluggishness.

‘Selling out’ is a fictitious concept, I think—the idea that one day a band decides to sell its soul to the popular music executive devil is likely oversimplified at best. And it would be wrong to say that compromising their sound when they’re still working to define themselves. That being said, when the final song “77” closes with a violin and piano outro, it leaves something to be desired considering the unyielding, hardnosed noise sensibilities of The Big Pink’s first album. Ultimately, moving towards a more pop and electronic sound from their industrialized shoegaze would not be a problem for The Big Pink if it made their music better. Instead, this album is less engaging and a step back from before. The sophomore album is often tricky, but The Big Pink’s goal here was definitive: to craft themselves toward a popular audience. In doing so, they’ve lost their best qualities.

Future This trades the My Bloody Valentine-like, hazy guitar riffs for radio-friendly electro beats. At times still eruptive, the push towards a pop middle ground means that Future This lacks conviction in itself, and timidity does not well suit The Big Pink.


Image Source: The Big Pink Facebook, Music from the Big Pink

Commentary Ticker

  • Google Glass Lets You Take Photos With Your Brain
    July 12, 2014 | 4:02 pm

    If you haven’t heard, electroencephalograms (EEGs) have been getting better. Way better. Artificial limbs and even video game controllers are utilizing the non-invasive brain-wave monitoring method to guide computers by thought. Now English startup This Place has developed a way to bring the technology to Google Glass, allowing Google’s wearable to read your mind. Well, […]

  • Android Art: The Accidental Selfies of Google Art Project
    July 5, 2014 | 11:11 am

    Within the cultural centers of the world lurks a mechanical beast draped in silver spinning madly and capturing everything, sometimes even itself. In 2011 Google created the Art Project, an initiative to bring their Street View technology inside the cultural epicenters of the world. Google enlisted 17 world-class museums in short time. Institutions such as […]

  • Purple Mountunes Majesty: The Most Patriotic Playlist
    July 4, 2014 | 12:13 pm

    A while ago, Paul Lamere of The Echo Nest, a music-analysis company, took to finding each state’s most distinctive, yet popular, artist in a viral article. Spotify took note, purchasing Echo Nest for their analytical talent. Together, they’ve released a blog post documenting each state’s most distinctively American song creating a patriotic playlist for the […]

  • Emojinealogy: Where the Heck Emojis Come From
    July 2, 2014 | 3:10 pm

    On June 16th, the Unicode Consortium announced that 250 new emoji would be added to the list of symbols available to people’s cellphones and computer devices. The list of the new symbols can be found on Emojipedia. And no, the list doesn’t include the much needed minority representation, but it does include your favorite (?) […]

  • The Decline and Fall of the American Mall
    June 24, 2014 | 9:07 pm

    For ages, the shopping mall was as essential to the architecture of suburbia as Levittowns and freeways. But in an era of online shopping, these epicenters of brick and mortar yesteryear are quietly being abandoned across the country. While the U.S. currently has around 1,500, the number may soon shrink, and rapidly, leading to abandoned […]

  • RSSArchive for Commentary Ticker »

Join our mailing list!

Trending on The Airspace