The Big Pink were custom built for success. They arrived on a wave of hype buoyed by the earnest support of celebrity friends and the irrepressible march of lead single “Dominos”. The track was destined to be a hit in its own right, but the wiley suits at XBOX helped to turn “Dominos” into an unavoidable all-conquering juggernaut. Far from one hit wonders, A Brief History Of Love confirmed The Big Pink’s capacity for writing draining hits and, in “Velvet”, an illusive yearning masterpiece.
The arrival may have been flawless, but that only makes the potential pitfall of second album syndrome more acute. Faced with the question of where to go next, The Big Pink have opted to clean up. The thick smoke and the murky fuzz of A Brief History Of Love have been vacuumed away, leaving a hollow shell typified by the light echo, crisp keys, and soft saws of “The Palace”. At times this lighter cleaner sound strikes a chord. “Give It Up’s” haunted funk builds to a gnawingly addictive chorus that eventually overstays its welcome, “Hit The Ground (Superman)” is a sublime grower whose jerky march gives way to a suitably all encompassing hook, while “1313” may be more gentle fizz than deep bite, but its redeemed by a power house time-stand-still vocal that does its best to measure up to “Velvet”.
Still as one tepid underwhelming arrangement melds into the next, Future This only serves to pester; gnawing at the fringe rather than engulfing everything in a sonic haze. With the aural assault toned down, the empathises falls on Robbie Furze vocals which have traded their obscured charm for grating immediacy. “Rubbernecking” may appear cringeworthy but it has nothing on “Jump Music”, a cloying nightmare brimming with forced rhymes that is painfully dragged out beyond the four and a half minute mark.
“77” provides much needed respite at the album death. Understated and undeveloped, this low-key ballad proves infinitely more endearing than those moments, like the atrocious “Lose Your Mind”, which try far too hard. Cleaning up their sound, becoming more direct, and simply trying harder doesn’t suit The Big Pink. There was an effortless enormity to A Brief History Of Love that proved irresistible; Future This, while at times infectious, feels overworked, desperate for attention, and under loved. David Hayter