The Big Pink: Future This

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The Big Pink: <i>Future This</i>

The Big Pink’s latest LP Future This picks up more or less where 2009’s A Brief History of Love left off. While this new batch doesn’t have anything as catchy as “Dominoes” or contemplative as “Velvet,” The Big Pink dials up its flair for Cure-esque anthemic ‘80s-pop right off the bat with a one-two opening salvo of “Stay Gold” and “Hit The Ground (Superman).” On “Give it Up” Furze and Cordell get blippy with their electrodes and a could-be female chorus which I suspect is their voices modulated to high heaven.

Speaking of voices, Furze’s vox are sounding more like Ben Bridwell of Band of Horses than ever before. This is partially a production element, with that vagueness on the echo, but the songs also have those sustained high-register proclaimations—plus the dudes simply sound alike. No harm no foul, although on certain tracks like “13,” I’m almost certain I’m about to hear “When I lived alone… Is there a ghost in my house?” (Keep an eye out for some cute mashups by British DJs in February!)

A lot of the material on Future This falls more into the rock idiom than synth-pop, thanks in part to some dirty garage-y guitar. Keep an eye out for “Jump Music,” which stabs slightly Westward and could be a serviceable track in the club world and the rock world. “Lose Your Mind” and the titular track scale the summit of their ‘80s mountain—the former infuses a grimey guitar solo that makes you realize what it would have sounded like if Spoon’s Britt Daniels had been shredding for Duran Duran.

You may be unwilling to admit that The Big Pink distinguishes itself within the vastly popular arena of retro-electro-pop. And on the previous disc, you might have been right (even if those tunes were catchier, more frenetic and—on average—just a bit better). These tracks are denser, lower to the ground, and have more personality (a personality which seems unapologetically in love with “Pictures Of You”). Even if The Big Pink comes out more obviously retro than the MGMTs, Pheonixes, and Fosters the People of the world, Future This is never background music. It demands attention, and it has just enough glitch and grime to remind you that it’s not 30 years old.