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Music Review: The Big Pink – A Brief History of Love

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Hailing from London, England, The Big Pink are signed to the massive 4AD label which brought us brilliant bands such as Pixies, Bauhaus, and Throwing Muses. They are not an easy band to classify and their style is a mix of indie rock, shoegazing, and electro rock. They have certainly arrived on the scene with a bang and won the prestigious NME Philip Hall Radar Award for best new act in 2009.

It is not often that a debut album is as impressive as this and each song is worth mention. Song title links will take you to the YouTube videos (4AD have their own channel).

"Crystal Visions": After a build-up of a minute, the album explodes with the energetic and anthemic “Crystal Visions”. At first it reminded me a little bit of All About Eve around the time that they brought out “Phased” but it soon becomes evident that they are channeling The Jesus and Mary Chain and boy, are they doing a good job! This song has the most awesome bassline!

"Too Young To Love": Another brilliant and anthemic song that brings to mind Kula Shaker. I love the grinding guitars and beat. This is like Californian beach music or music to listen to on your way out at night. Or music to go see live in concert. I don’t need to give you any more reasons… this is exciting and energetic music and you should give it a listen!

"Dominos": This is their massive radio hit and you’ll probably recognise it. It reminds me of M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes” from the Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack or MGMT’s “Time to Pretend”. It’s just a really happy song although why I’m saying that when it’s about men not being able to commit, I’ll never know.

"Love In Vain": This is not my favourite song as I find it kind of anti-climactic after the previous three songs but it might appeal to Jesus and Mary Chain fans.

"At War With The Sun": This song is a dead ringer for the Stone Roses. Seriously, it could have been written by Ian Brown himself. Which is not a bad thing and they definitely make it their own towards the end (well, obviously, seeing as it is their own song) but it is clear who their influences are.

"Velvet": This song reminds me so much of My Bloody Valentine and it definitely earns The Big Pink the shoegazing label. It is really beautiful and makes me want to lie in a park in the sun.

"Golden Pendulum": Sweeping guitar riffs and lazy vocals continue the shoegazing theme and Jesus and Mary chain channeling.

"Frisk": The backing vocals in this song remind me of Jane’s Addiction to some extent. This song is quite edgy and a nice contrast to the previous tracks.

"A Brief History of Love": This is an amazing song featuring the incredibly talented Joanne Robertson (also known as Joanne Apps).

"Tonight": This is the best song on the album. I love the grinding guitars and once again, that gorgeous vocal reminds me of Perry Farrell from Jane’s Addiction.

"Countbackwards From Ten": This reminds me of “Today” from The Smashing Pumpkins. Coming at the end of an energetic, frenetic album, this is a fantastic closing song to the album. It’s not exactly calming, more like that last song at the end of the best concert of your life. The one that sees you walking out the door on a complete natural high.

You can learn more about The Big Pink at their official website, LastFM, their MySpace page, and their NME profile. This album was an excellent find and I am only too happy to give it five stars!

Photo by Tom Beard

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About Mandy Southgate

Mandy Southgate is a blogger, serial expat and eternal tourist living and working in London. Aside from writing at Blogcritics, she blogs about travel and London at Emm in London, entertainment and media at Addicted to Media and war crimes, genocide and social justice over at A Passion to Understand. Mandy has continued to write for Blogcritics under the new profile Mandy Southgate.