After three long years in the wilderness since their debut back in 2009 and a year after their song 'Dominoes' was sampled on a Nicki Minaj track, The Big Pink have returned with their sophomore album "Future This" and how times have changed since then. Whilst their debut, "A Brief History of Love" received a huge amount of fanfare and hype, this new album has arrived with nothing more than a murmur and almost zero momentum behind it. Not since the Klaxons' second album has an album from a popular band arrived with nothing more than a whimper.
What makes this minimal lack of hype even more baffling is the fact that the band have upped the ante in terms of their sound, beefing it up with even more synthesizers with infectious choruses. This album sees them teaming up with superstar producer Paul Epworth (see: Adele, Bloc Party, Florence, Plan B etc) again thus ensuring that the hooks on all of the album's songs are as infectious as that on their previous Epworth produced hit 'Dominos', with easily remembered lyrics that have a strange habit of staying in your head for lengthy periods. Album opener and first single "Stay Gold" is a great example of this with its somewhat cheesy stadium-rock sound quality that will no doubt provide the band with a sing-a-long moment at this year's festivals.
Despite the [unashamed] endeavours to garner another big single on some of this album's songs, there's still a large amount of good music to be found on this album. "1313" for example is a brilliantly messy song that features extensive usage of fuzzy synths and a gloriously distorted minute long outro. Counter that with the ultra-sleek and electo tinged "Rubbernecking" that is a clear attempt to create a commercial radio friendly hit in the sense that it's catchy, fun and short.
Much like their debut, Future This is less focused on the lyrical aspect of music and instead relies on The Big Pink's main strength; the sonic atmosphere they create. The arrangements on some of the songs are downright breathtaking at points, especially on the closing song "77" that has a glorious sense of delicacy to its sound. With a simple piano/drum pattern combination beneath its synthesisers, the focus is more on the astounding hook that's simply the refrain "77 ways to say no" mixed in such a way that the words suddenly take on an incredibly emotional edge. It's the best sounding song on an album that's made up of really polished songs.
The true tragedy of this album is the lack of press it seems to have attracted. Future This is an album made up of meticulously produced songs varying from good to great in terms of quality. Whilst the lyrics aren't always anything to shout about, the music itself and the memorable hooks are exceptional. It won't make anyone's "Best of 2012" list, but it's still an enjoyable listen from a band on the cusp of making some magnificent pop music.