One of the hottest pop acts in the U.K. sometimes pretends to be gay. Or maybe this duo of prankish dudes is gay pretending to be straight pretending to be gay. Whatever. The truth is that no one really cares about Big Pink's actual kinks and preferences because their electro-rock cuts are so bloody catchy.
So let 'em cuddle for the camera, as these dance-floor nerds with the suggestive name did when they showed up in 2009. As long as Robbie Furze and Milo Cordell keep uncorking smart, refreshing albums like the new Future This — produced in part by Paul Epworth, who helmed Adele's Rolling in the Deep — they could pretend to be cross-dressing llama herders and no one would stop dancing to their technotic tunes.
It's a new year, which means we're about to meet and greet swarms of acts eager to break out a la 2011's LMFAO and Foster the People. The Big Pink is first up to be judged and loved, or left behind. These Londoners are all the buzz back home, and now the U.S. version of iTunes is hyping the band's sophomore album, Future This, which was released stateside on Tuesday.
Despite lifting their name from 1968 Band album Music From Big Pink — a crunchy roots-rock classic — Furze and Cordell prefer head-spinning synths and icy exteriors. They share a label, 4AD, with Bon Iver and St. Vincent, and that makes sense. They're all plugged into the same quirky electrical outlet.
Big Pink's vocals, however, are significantly warmer than their beats 'n' bleeps, especially on sneaky single Hit the Ground (Superman). "Can you catch me when I drop?" Furze sings amidst paisley swirls.
Like a wallflowery Coldplay, Furze and Cordell have a knack for crowd-pleasing gestures. Stay Gold starts robotic, but its bonfire chorus is not unlike the belted earnestness of early U2 ("Forgive your lovers, but don't forget their names"). Give It Up is a brash charmer a la the blue-eyed soul of '80s ABC. And Rubbernecking is a last-call shout that, steely industrial hum aside, is not unlike Rihanna's Cheers (Drink to That).
There's no telling if the Big Pink will break in the U.S., too. Honestly, there aren't a lot of bands with the same twisted business model. They're shape-shifting rule-breakers bold enough to predict they'll soon sell out Madison Square Garden. Who's to say they won't? Gay, straight, pranksters, popsters: If the Big Pink doesn't make it in America, it won't be because they're dull.
Sean Daly can be reached at [email protected]