It’sa fact that some things in life are greater than the sum of their parts. Things that in isolation make no sense but when combined together seem completely natural, sort of like the opposite of the England football team. The Big Pink are just such a band – on paper they have a singer that can’t sing, a second album that slipped unnoticed into obscurity and songs cheesier than stilton fondue but somehow, against the odds, they pull it off.
Their headline slot on the NME tour seems a couple of years too late. In 2009 they were riding a wave of popularity following hit single ‘Dominos’ but three years later they are suffering from serious credibility issues. Their FM-friendly indie-pop is no longer flavour of the month and the record buying public are deserting them if sales of recent album Future This is anything to go by having entered the charts at a disappointing no 96. Powerhouse drummer Akiko Matsuura has departed to form her own band and, it seems, taken all the good fortune with her.
And yet, despite all of this, their show at the Highbury Corner venue is an unabashed success. There’s no denying that their songs are cheesy, but that also means they’re catchier than chlamydia. You know more Big Pink songs than you think you do thanks to their ubiquity in TV commercials and samples on other peoples records and every single person at the packed-out show will have left with a Big Pink melody stuck in their head. Dominos of course got the best reception of the night but newer favourites emerged like Hit The Ground, which went down a storm, and recent single Stay Gold is a vastly underrated track, deserving of much more critical praise than they have received.
Singer and guitarist Robbie Furze is essentially the Big Pink, flanked on one side by a drummer hidden in the darkness and on the other by multi-instrumentalist Milo Cordell hiding behind a curtain of hair and the other looking so bored we suspect he may have been playing Tetris, rather than samples on his laptop. It is fair to say they are not the most engaging band, but they are far from the least either, with Furze’s self assuredness reminiscent of a young Bobby Gillespie. This is a cult of personality with the entire show being held together by Furze’s ego.
Still, there’s no denying that their songs have more hooks than a bait shop and on the evidence of the crowd here and can still attract attention. Many bands suffer from difficult-second-album syndrome, so lets reserve judgment on Big Pink and give them another chance. Their third album might just surprise us yet.
Future This is out now.