The Big Pink: A Brief History of Love (4AD)

In the opening sequence to Robert Altman's 1992 film The Player, producers at a movie studio pitch ideas that merely recycle things that have already been commercially successful. One guy wants to make "Ghost meets The Manchurian Candidate," while another pitches "Out of Africa meets Pretty Woman."

A scenario like this could explain the existence of The Big Pink, whose debut A Brief History of Love answers the tasteless question, "What if Oasis tried to make a Postal Service album?"

The problem is, they've taken everything self-indulgent and whiny about Oasis and fused it with everything redundant and artificial about The Postal Service. Take "Crystal Visions," in which we get a tedious buildup that eventually segues into British speak-singing over big, fuzzed-out guitars. Then the song never goes anywhere; it's utterly inert.

This same issue plagues the rest of the album, though a couple of nice moments creep in; "Golden Pendulum" nicely fabricates the electro-pop sound that's so in vogue these days.

Lead vocalist Robbie Furze is a cipher with no inherent charisma, and the spidery, masturbatory guitar-wailing just plain annoys, especially when it's mixed with the computerized aesthetics of electronica. And don't get me started on the album's catchiest track, "Dominos," a sexist anthem that waxes poetic about the inherent disposability of female bodies.

This band's being hailed by NME as the next big thing, but at the end of the day, this is a vapid, meaningless record from a band that feels like a marketing ploy.

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