The Big Pink take their name from a famous album by the Band, but their music sounds — at first, anyway — as if it has little in common with the American roots music of Robbie Robertson and company. The Big Pink is a London duo made up of Milo Cordell and Robbie Furze, and they like their melodic pop cloaked in heavy curtains of electronic noise and guitar feedback, supported by thunderous electronic beats.
At one time, Furze played guitar with digital hardcore pioneer Alec Empire. Through his own Merok Records, Cordell was affiliated with the Klaxons and Crystal Castles. In concert, Furze and Cordell fill out their sound with help from members of electronic acts and the drone-metal band Sunn O))).
The Big Pink has received a lot of press attention in the U.K. such as the past year, and thanks to car-radio-shaking songs like “Dominos” and “Velvet,” they are beginning to generate a lot of buzz stateside. Many critics have compared them to the Jesus and Mary Chain or shoegazer bands like My Bloody Valentine, and I’ve heard at least one reviewer compare them to Radiohead circa OK Computer. Those comparisons are fair, but after a couple of listens to the Big Pink’s debut album, A Brief History of Love, you might think of another ’80s U.K. act that has (perhaps unfairly) never received much critical respect: Depeche Mode. Furze’s singing voice isn’t as ponderous as Dave Gahan’s, but he has a similar kind of emotional reserve in his delivery. And, like Depeche Mode, the Big Pink sweeten their forbidding electronic sounds with radio-friendly hooks.
BIG PINK: The Casbah, Saturday, November 21, 8:30 p.m. 619-232-4355. $12; $14 day of show.