Album Reviews

The Big Pink – The Love That’s Ours

(Project Melody) UK release date: 30 September 2022

Robbie Furze and co return after a 10 year gap with a lush and well-crafted album that errs just on the right side of bombast

The Big Pink - The Love That's Ours This year has thrown a few curveballs at us already (war in Europe, a collapsing economy, a new monarch and a new government within a week of each other), but it’s a likely bet that nobody had “the third album from The Big Pink” on their 2022 bingo card.

The Big Pink first appeared around 2009 with a well-received debut album A Brief History Of Love – an album that still stands up today, with songs like Dominoes wearing particularly well. This was followed up three years later with Future This, which did rather less well for itself, and then…silence.

You’d be forgiven for presuming that The Big Pink’s leader Robbie Furze had decided to pack things up and concentrate on other matters, given the length of the band’s absence. Yet it turns out that the recording of The Love That’s Ours has been a bit of an epic journey – ten years in the making, with band members departing, old band members re-connecting with Furze and a multitude of scrapped sessions. No doubt the ten-part Netflix show documenting the album journey is just around the corner.

So, after all that time, how do the Big Pink sound nowadays? Well, the answer is…a bit like The Big Pink. The arrangements are still lush and well-crafted, it usually errs just on the right side of bombast, and Furze still knows how to write a catchy chorus. LA based popstar Ryn Weaver, who has songwriting credits on the album, has brought out a more contemporary pop-rock sound to the band – there are songs here that you’d feel would fit quite well on an Imagine Dragons album, or some other ‘stadium-indie’ band.

There’s also nods to Coldplay on the contemplative, stirring piano ballad Safe And Sound, while the album’s long list of collaborators include Jamie T, Jamie Hince of The Kills, London indie-folk duo Dust In The Sunlight, and Nick Zinner from Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Sometimes, these influences are obvious – Inside Out could almost be an outtake from the last Jamie T album – but they mostly complement Furze. Love Spins On Its Axis especially is a big, celebratory anthem that recalls the band’s heyday.

At other times though, it falls a bit short. You’d expect a song entitled Rage – especially one described by Furze as “our fuck you track”, written and recorded over the album’s long gestation period – to be full of fire and anger. The lyrics are certainly full of passion (“fuck the fame based on some pretence…fuck off games that narrow your lane”) but they’re married to a pleasant, inoffensive melody. You find yourself yearning for some grit, a bit of rawness: instead, Rage is a song that could be by any number of middling indie-rock bands.

And that’s the issue with The Love That’s Ours – there’s a few too many anonymous tracks, and not enough that reach out and grab you by the scruff of the neck. When you’ve been away for so long, you want to howl your return from the rooftops, but too often The Love That’s Ours feels like it’s creeping back in politely by the side door. Robbie Furze remains a very talented songwriter, but whether there’s enough residual affection for The Big Pink after a decade away to ensure a successful comeback remains to be seen.

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More on The Big Pink
The Big Pink – The Love That’s Ours
The Big Pink – Future This
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The Big Pink @ Academy 3, Manchester
The Big Pink – A Brief History Of Love