After cementing themselves as one of the biggest breakthrough acts of the noughties, highlighted by their international smash hit single “Dominos,” The Big Pink return for the first time in a decade to release their long-awaited new single “No Angels”, produced by Tony Hoffer (Beck, Air, Phoenix).
Their first piece of new material since their 2012 sophomore album Future This, “No Angels’” sees the band return to their dark and progressive roots, channelling a beautifully rich and driven direction. While the track itself owes plenty of its aesthetic to the group’s original sound, their new addition marks the beginning of a new chapter for The Big Pink as they return to the fold.
Speaking about the new song, the band’s Robbie Furze said, “It’s a track reflecting that moment when you understand that all you’ve set your sights on has led to a place far away from where you should be and everything you truly love.
“It took sacrificing everything I’d built in London and moving to Los Angeles, a place I thought I needed to be in order to achieve my dreams, for me to realise that it was about much more than just myself. I had a moment of clarity when I understood what’s truly important and what I needed to do to get back to everything and everyone that I loved. That’s what this song is about.”
A decade is a long time in music.
One listen to The Big Pink’s latest offering however, and the ten years since we last heard from them melt away. Grandeur mixed with melancholy, singalong tunes tinged with nagging doubt, dreamlike atmosphere and pure noise, electronic dystopia shrouding a spirit of hope, all driven by the big questions on identity, purpose and belonging… It’s all in there. And those ten years out of view have brought to The Big Pink a new character: experience.
“The first album was that classic thing: is this actually happening?” says Robbie Furze, the sole founder member since his musical partner Milo Cordell left in 2013, of The Big Pink’s 2009 breakthrough ’A Brief History of Love’. “There were no expectations, just two best friends working on music together, and to us it felt like an explosion. Then came the second record [Future This, 2012], which we thought we could bash out because we were now so busy on tour, but we soon realised that it didn’t have the same romance or importance of the first record and that affected Milo deeply. I remember doing the first gigs after Future This and thinking: something doesn’t feel right here. We were trying to get the songs written as quickly as possible and we neglected the essence of The Big Pink in the process.”
After a huge tour of Asia that, in Furze’s words, ‘finished us off,’ he and Cordell decided to step away from music; to avoid the fate of so many bands who fall into the recording-touring treadmill and kill the passion that first opened their hearts along the way. There was no major split, no blazing rows presented to the world as musical differences, just an understanding that it was time to move on.
Milo Cordell concentrated on running his record label Merok, while Furze felt a strong urge to change the backdrop and start anew. “I fell into DJing in Los Angeles. London was on a bit of a downer at the time, especially if you were in a rock band, and there seemed to be a lot of English musicians moving to LA – it was the place to be. A friend of mine was opening a bar in Silverlake called Tenants of the Trees and it felt like the beginning of a movement. It had the beautiful models, the token celebs, the bands I love… There I was with Black Motorcycle Club and Queens of the Stone Age, and I was Robbie from the Big Pink, DJing on Tuesday nights. It was fun.” For a moment Furze considered a future as club owner, before realising that he really should be getting back to making music of his own.
“And that’s when things started happening again because there are a lot of lost artists in LA; people who have gone out there with their talent and lost their way. LA’s great when you’re on the up but if you find yourself having fallen out of favour it can be hard to get back on the proverbial treadmill. But if you can get those people in the room for a moment, lovely things can emerge from the chaos.”
The Big Pink’s drummer Akiko Matsuura was back on board while Charlie Barker, a visual artist from Nottingham, joined on bass guitar. Furze bounced musical ideas off a network of friends either visiting or resident in Los Angeles including Jamie Hince from the Kills, Nick Zinner from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Jamie T and Joel Amey from Wolf Alice, the latter suggesting that Furze resurrect The Big Pink to do a US tour with Wolf Alice in 2018. “That reinvigorated me because going on tour is like going to war: it’s so hard but you feel invigorated by the pain, especially if you are back on a support tour, shlepping your own amplifiers around. It gives you a tangible feeling on what it means to be a musician.”