the big pink a brief history of love
  • MONDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2009

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The Big Pink's A Brief History of Love is a deftly produced retrospective on the flawed and fragile state of romantic affairs; in the struggle for power, sexuality autonomy throws companionship to the wayside. Unlike like this messy and often combative "use or be used" ethos, The Big Pink discovers a synergistic listening experience in which classic guitars, electric beats and industrial noise mutually thrive.

Formed in 2007 by singer/guitarist Robbie Furze and keyboardist Milo Cordell, The Big Pink draws from a number music genres, alternating between synth and shoe gazer, brit pop and new wave. The Jesus and Mary Chain as well as the Stone Roses resonate across several tracks. Cordell creates anodic pulses of sound while Furze's roaring guitar unleashes feedback that is both beautiful and consuming. It is credit to their acute understanding of the composition that we recognize the heavy guitars of Sonic Youth and blanketing dissonance of Dinosaur Jr. in one refrain. With the help of dynamic female drummer Akiko Matsuura, electric beats and solid drumming keep the energy high and and the rhythm escalating.

Much like this seeming contradiction of musical styles, A Brief History of Love's thematic significance is rooted in the romantic oxymoron. More Kurt Vonnegut than Cole Porter, the subject of the Big Pink's narratives is resigned to an inevitable cycle of love and loss, falling hard and falling out of love. On "Golden Pendulum", Furze views romantic love as a futile exercise. Fueled by desire, it is a means of placating the senses; a source of instant gratification that ultimately runs out. "Velvet" makes a similar argument. What begins as a dance track, laden with synth touches, reveals a sincere maudlin plea by the artist. As the beat progresses, swirling vocals fall on the ears like wistful cries. They fade in and out, evoking a sense of reflection and memory. "A tale of love/ Come and gone/ Now my love/ No promises/I won't go falling in love." Furze recounts a history of heartache and desolation through monotone vocals. The smash of guitars convey a breaking point, the artist's frustration and regret exposed.

Nevertheless, Furze is quick to dig himself out of the emotional depths, portraying a complete role reversal on the hyped-up "Dominoes". The soundtrack-ready single has already appeared on the sexy UK series Skins and lauds the exploits of a hipster Lothario. "As soon as I love her it's been too long/ Talks of future with you canes me in/ Swallow my sugar kiss and eat it alone." Here, compatibility takes a backseat to a guileless pursuit of the flesh. Dominoes is cleverly constructed pop tune; its opening is a near-parallel for the somber ballad Velvet, though the story itself inverted. By engendering the voice of both user and used, the Big Pink makes a startling observation: In the rules of attraction, none are blameless and all parties are on some level accountable. Sure, it's all a little heavy handed. But with seductive beats like these, it's easy enough to overlook the hurt.

The Big Pink's just finished up the last legs of their first North American tour but already have list of performances slated for early 2010. A Brief History of Love is one hot piece on the market now. -megan diamondstein


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MP3: The Big Pink - "Dominos" (A Brief History Of Love)
The Big Pink on Myspace

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