October 14th 2009
The Big Pink are a band to be approached with caution. They tick a lot of the right boxes – cool influences, cool record label, a well thought-out image (their artwork prominently featuring the beautiful photography of Marc Atkins, handily consisting primarily of female nudes). They’ve had their fair amount of hype this year, as well as releasing that song.
Judging from tonight’s crowd it it would seem there has already been a fairly significant crossover, there being a few among the crowd who look/act like they heard them on T4/Hollyoaks/wherever it is these people find out about music these days. Not to be too judgemental of course, but it’s pretty clear they’re only hear for one thing, one moment, one song.
Bearing this in mind, it’s somewhat unsurprising local support Findo Gask receive a relatively lukewarm reception. They’re an odd proposition in some ways, their songs are full of melody, bobbing bass, squelching synths. Nothing so odd there, you might think. And there isn’t, but what is slightly disquieting is that they actually come off like an electro-pop, house-infused version of The Smiths (or perhaps, more accurately, Gene). It’s both catchy and quirky, features that should appeal across this fairly broad audience, but it falls pretty flat. Maybe they don’t exude enough machismo. To be fair, it is all slightly on the camp side, but since when has that been an obstacle to either indie or pop crowds?
The Big Pink appear, goth-ed up to the nines. They start how they will go on, sweaty, loud, personality-less. Straight off something feels wrong, correction, sounds wrong. The Big Pink are the heirs to the Jesus & Mary Chain and The Cocteau Twins (both local-ish heroes of course) right? They do a funny impression of it if they are. The sound is processed, slick to the point of blandness. That’s the problem with this show; any atmosphere they’ve evoked on record is sorrily absent in this live rendering. The static charge, the energy, the noise a new band like this usually need to carry them forward is sorely lacking. Even ‘Velvet’, lauded by many as a song of the year, is deadened by its smoothness and the context within which it is delivered. In fact, it’s downright dull.
Before the big moment, the one for the hairdressers and still mourning Oasis fans, this writer strides into the black, cool autumn air of Glasgow toun. He puts the Cocteau Twins in his ears, and smiles a little rueful smile, disappointed, if unsurprised.