The Big Pink ‘A Brief History Of Love’ – Review

20 Sep

I REALLY want to hate ‘A Brief History Of Love’. The Big Pink are the most obnoxious, arrogant, ‘cool’ scenesters this country has produced in a long time. Every time I see them interviewed they seem stoned and self important, they run through a list of whose who in 2009 indie pop – Florence, Klaxons, Crystal Castles – and declare them all to be mere followers of their own cult. They own one of the most influential record labels in the country and their DJ nights are notorious. Throughout it all they maintain an impossible cool and ‘so what’ attitude. On top of this they have declared how great they are and how overrated The Beatles were – the cheek of them!

So it really pains me to say that this is not a record to hate, although it’s pretty hard to love. It is a cute, shambolic, forward thinking pop album that goes a tiny way to justifying the hype. The title is apt as this really is a brief history of love. Each track reveals a little insight into a relationship – ‘If this is love why can’t I just leave it’, ‘These tears are real’ and ‘Do you dream of me as much as I do of you?’ are just some of the lyrical highlights from one track. Cliched it may be but there is no denying the power of a love song, especially when the lyrics are accompanied by interesting music; and the music is intresting if completely mental.

It is a shambolic, up and down record that is only consistent lyrically. It begins sounding like an early 90’s shoegaze record, a theme that runs throughout the album but never defines it. Meanwhile The singer sounds hopelessly ‘Britpop’ and his voice certainly grates at times, even sounding out of tune. In fact the best moment is when Joanne Robertson takes over lead vocals on the title track which sounds very ‘Jesus and Mary Chain’. There is a very post new rave feel to many of the songs, not dissimilar to their former protages Crystal Castles, especially on ‘Tonight’ which also suffers from horrible singing and tuneless melodies.

When this album gets it right it really gets it right. The Title track, ‘Dominos’, ‘Crystal Visions’ and ‘Velvet’ are amazing and sound like 2009 encapsulated in song. But despite the cohesive theme of love and longing this is a record that doesn’t really feel like a stand alone piece of work, almost exactly like Klaxons and Crystal Castles debut’s. It is infuriating at times that the band choose to skip between their brilliant Shoegaze moments and the distasteful lad rock and dance aspects so readily as it ruins the flow and momentum of the album. At it’s best this is a brilliant album that justifies their own hype. At its worst it feels like a horrible throwback to a time taste forgot. And whilst they’re still arogant scenesters, they’re clearly pretty talented ones.



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