Big Pink’s Future Bright, Present Mediocre

Future This, the sophomore effort from the Big Pink, begins by quoting “a time to laugh; a time to cry,” and it’s a few tracks into the album before this line begins to make sense.  The beginning of the album is all about happiness and high energy dance beats that fail to have much weight or be particularly enjoyable.  The album has high points, but they are all at the end when the “time to cry” comes, making for a disappointing experience as an album.

The beats on this album are meant for dancing and the band cites hip hop as a major influence on their song crafting for this album.  Just as hip hop often does, this means the emphasis is too often on the beats and the details are neglected, as on “Stay Gold,” and “Hit the Ground.”  However, on the more emotional, darker second half of the album, a real care for detail can be seen.  This leads to the observation that perhaps the more upbeat songs are less genuine, and the Big Pink didn’t feel the artistic drive to perfect them as they did the others.

Lyrically the album makes little impression.  Although the repetition of a line too much harms the experience a few times, that sort of thing can be particularly addicting, and the Big Pink seem to have a good sense of that.  In general, the Big Pink show themselves to be talented at crafting this indie-electro-pop that the 4AD label has been trying to sign more of, and perhaps with more maturity they will find the exact style that suits them best.

The album ends with the powerful “77,” and the production on that track really shines.  Closing tracks frequently outshine other pieces of albums, but here the superiority is particularly painful as it serves as the final reminder at the superiority of the second half of the record.  The only track with significant orchestral presence, they achieve what very few bands do by not over doing the orchestral presence, and they probably have their producer to thank for that.

Not many artists are able to achieve a sophomore effort as good as this one, and that requires some degree of congratulations, but this record does leave a desire for future releases from the Big Pink more than excitement for their current work.  While Big Pink fans will enjoy a number of tracks here, there’s little to attract the casual fan of electronic music.

WPGU Music Staff Rating: W-P-1/2

Key Tracks: “77,” “Future This,” “Lose Your Mind,” and “Rubbernecking”.

RIYL: Washed Out, Crystal Castles, Spoon.

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