The Big Pink Future This
Published Jan 17, 2012Robbie Furze and Milo Cordell successfully melded noisy shoegaze guitar, cascading electronics and booming anthems under the guise of a moody, droning pop act on their 2009 debut album, A Brief History of Love. Though critically and commercially adored, the duo felt something was missing and decided they'd rather be the life of the party than the funeral directors. Produced by Paul Epworth (Adele, Bloc Party) and mixed by Alan Moulder (My Bloody Valentine, Nine Inch Nails), Future This begins with two enormous ripples of positivity: the big beat-blasting "Stay Gold" and "Hit the Ground (Superman)," which packs a Laurie Anderson sample, a clobbering piano riff akin to "No Diggity" and arguably their biggest chorus next to "Dominos," marking an immediate shift in tone for the Londoners. From there, Future This takes a bit of a dive into some more contemplative territory ("Give It Up" and "1313") and a blares out a couple of arena-sized anthems ("Rubbernecking" and "Jump Music"), which could be mistaken for Kasabian by a drunken ear. Luckily, with Epworth and Moulder by their side, Future This doesn't fully falter, thanks in large to "77," a sprawling tribute to Cordell's late brother. However, lacking the evenness and narcotic surge of its predecessor, it's hard to think of Future This as a worthy successor.
Milo said A Brief History of Love wasn't a very fun record. What's your take on that?
Singer/guitarist Robbie Furze: The first album was not so much not fun; it was a very personal record to make. We wore our hearts on our sleeves a lot on that album; songs like "Velvet" were directly about relationships with people that we loved. It was a heartfelt record, our diary. Even now, "Velvet" still makes me sad. Not to say the new record doesn't have the same intensity, because it does, but it's more about hope and enjoying each other, enjoying life, enjoying experience. The first album, which I don't think at the time we realized, was about us dealing with some inner pain or sadness, so we dealt with it by writing that record. This record is more of a celebration of where we've come from since our first record.
What brought on the optimistic feel of this record?
Our main influence really was from touring the first record. It was a bit of a downer sometimes going out and playing these droning songs to a big room of people. We'd do festivals in these big tents and some dance act would be on before us having everyone jumping around and partying, then we'd come on and have a different kind of energy. We got a bit jealous that we weren't creating the same type of celebration, so we wanted to take what we did with the first record and create more of a dance show. I think in our heads we'd like the Big Pink to end up somewhere in between [Primal Scream's] Screamadelica and [the Chemical Brothers'] Dig Your Own Hole. We still want to have songs, but keep the energy going. When we were writing the record, we really got into the groove and swing on the bottom end that we had never considered on the first record. I think the beats on that one were square and the bass lines were more like the Jesus & Mary Chain. It is more fun, because there's a sense of euphoria, and if they don't know the songs that just makes it more fun and intense for us because they're literally just reacting to the songs straight away. Our most up song on the first record was "Dominos," and we noticed people were waiting around for it at our shows so they could jump around.
I've read that you didn't exactly embrace the guitar and live drums on Future This.
Weirdly enough, when we came off tour, I was anti-playing guitar and I didn't really pick it up when we were doing demos. I guess I had an argument with my guitar. There's actually a lot of guitar on the record, in the end, but I didn't want them to sound like guitars. Saying that, there's a guitar solo on the record that I never thought I'd do; I went through a Jimi Hendrix stage mid-record where I wanted a purist guitar part. The problem is we get bored of things and if you get bored of one thing, you move into another thing, and then you get back into guitars. There are very little live drums on the record. Paul Epworth, the producer, played whatever made it onto the record. They're all heavily programmed this time.
Where did the idea to take singing lessons come from?
It was one of those things where I just wanted to up my game; we want to be the best we can possibly be. I kind of fell into singing; I was really just a guitar player. I thought, "why don't I see how I can develop my voice so we can use it in different, more exciting ways?" The new record is a lot harder to sing than the first one. It has a much higher register, so the lessons helped me with that ― y'know, sharpening your tool, honing your skills. I was doing all of the wrong things, like singing from my throat and head. You've got to sing from your chest and some people just know how to do that naturally. I've worked harder to take it to the next level and it does feel stronger, to me, now. (4AD)