The Big Pink return after a decade with ‘No Angels’: “It’s true to what we stand for”
The Big Pink have returned with their first proper single in a decade. Check out ‘No Angels’ below, along with our interview with frontman Robbie Furze.
The London-formed indie veterans’ last album was their 2012 sophomore effort ‘Future This‘. Following the departure of one half of the then duo Milo Cordell in 2013, the band shared a one-off online only track ‘Hightimes’ in 2015 while teasing a third album, but it never arrived.
Now Furze – joined by original Big Pink drummer Akiko Matsuura and Nottingham visual artist Charlie Barker on bass – has returned with a taster of what’s to come and dose of their trademark indie-pop-meets-shoegaze sound from their acclaimed 2008 debut ‘A Brief History Of Love‘
“’No Angels’ a development in our songwriting and our technical approach, but it does definitely have the same aesthetic as our first record,” Furze told NME. “That’s where I feel most comfortable in representing what The Big Pink stands for. It all made sense and this was always in my head as the first song to come back with.”
The track is driven by a sample of the riff from ‘Light On‘ by the US band Bad Cop. Furze “fell in love” with the song after hearing it by chance on the radio in LA, where he has been based for much of the last decade as he gave his time to “DJing and different things”.
Furze would spend a lot of that time writing demos that might become Big Pink songs, bouncing ideas off the likes of The Kills‘ Jamie Hince, Nick Zinner from Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Jamie T and Joel Amey from Wolf Alice – the latter inspired him to get the band back together.
“We did some stuff with Wolf Alice when they came out to LA,” said Furze. “I’m mates with Joel the drummer, and he asked us to go on tour with them. I’d been doing a few little demos of new stuff, but we agreed to do a set of the old stuff. We did a US tour with them in 2018 and that’s when I realised that this was my calling and I had to get back on stage – this is really what I wanted to do.
“I didn’t want to mess around with anything else. It was time to do The Big Pink again.”
Furze explained how rediscovering his true calling is what inspired their comeback single.
“I was away from everything that I love, and I hadn’t quite realised what I was missing,” he explained. “You get yourself in these holes where you’re so driven to get something done and you’re trying to live this dream, but you’re perhaps losing some things that are perhaps way more important.
“It’s about that idea of returning to that metaphorical home – that safe place that makes sense to you.”
The frontman said that the band were intentionally harkening back to the “noisy rock’n’roll” that first found them fame with the likes of breakthrough singles ‘Dominos’ and ‘Velvet’, describing their sound as “a nice combination of that classic Motown soul simplicity with very strong melodies and a noise guitar element”. It’s a sound that set the template for their long-awaited third album, which they told us was hopefully due in Autumn.
“The idea was to make a record that was true to what The Big Pink stand for and where we started from,” Furze told NME. “There’s a lot of the signature Big Pink sound as well as some curveballs like piano ballads on the record. There are a few songs that are going to different areas, but as a whole I just wanted to cement our sound.
“The first record, ‘A Brief History Of Love’, was such a moment for me. Like everyone’s first record, it was such an honest reaction to music and how we were feeling at that time. It’s difficult to do your second record and re-approach that honesty. I listen back to that first record sometimes and I can’t believe how confident it is. I don’t hate the second record, but it doesn’t have the same love that I have for the first.”
He added: “If we were going to try and sum up The Big Pink sound then let’s really do it – start from where we came from, hone it, and do the best bunch of songs we can in that style.”
While adding the finishing touches to album number three, Furze also said that the band were planning some small “secret” comeback shows outside of London before some more major shows in the summer. Furze admitted that their return was timely, due to current “indie sleaze” trend celebrating the era of guitar music that they helped champion towards its end as they emerged in 2009 and won the NME Radar Award as a new band.
“That stuff is close to my heart because we were there when it was going on,” said Furze. “Maybe it’s not a bad time for us to bring out a record because there’s a resurgence of that kind of genre.”
Asked why he felt that said era was enjoying new life, Furze replied: “Pre-pandemic, there seemed to be a fast-food culture in music. I remember talking to producers about how you needed to get the important parts of a song within the first 10 seconds because people are listening on their phones and it’s very quick. A lot of nostalgia bands came back after the pandemic because people had time to stop, rest, and start appreciating media at greater length.
“People are looking for more of a visceral connection with music. With live bands, people want to hear the guitar and they want to feel the blood, sweat and tears of a performance. That got lost a lot over the last five or six years.”
He added: “People want to feel again. We’ve been so numb for so long. You see a band like Arcade Fire and it makes sense that people are hungry for them again.”
‘No Angels’ is out now via Project Melody Music.