The Big Pink A Brief History of Love

The Big Pink A Brief History of Love
If the Big Pink are the shoegazers everyone describes them as then somebody needs to start checking their urine because there's definitely some steroid use going on. The layers in their music may be dense and the guitars do chime with reverb but their convoluted rhythms, soaring melodies and strapping anthems are far too proactive to pass off as simple shoegaze. That said, the decision to sign with 4AD was a good one, as Milo Cordell (owner of hipster hub Merok Records) and Robbie Furze (formerly Alec Empire's guitarist) do fit in nicely with the label's catalogue. A Brief History of Love is a deeply ambitious record that mixes warm, dreamy textures, intricate electronics and voluble noise with great big hooks. As arty as they appear, the Big Pink fit the mould of a true pop band as much as they do an art rock one. "Dominos" should have been one of the year's biggest hits, with its nursery rhyme-like chorus, "Velvet" uses affectionate tones and bittersweet sentiments to make its grand statement, and "Love In Vain" is a bona fide ballad driven by a piping organ. As imposing as it all is, A Brief History of Love does feel very top-heavy and, at times, a little too eager to use programmed beats. But for the most part, the Big Pink do live up to the hype and keep their heads in the clouds, not gazing at their shoes. (4AD)