Every once in a while, a song will just stop you in your tracks the very first time you hear it. For me, those kinds of tunes have ranged from the Stone Roses’ “Fools Gold” to Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It).”
There’s something just so undeniable about the propulsion of those songs, the synapse-firing beats, the instant-classic nature of how they sound. They do what any great song does, which is make you feel like you already know it even if it’s the first time you’re hearing it.
I got a jolt of that recently when I heard a song called “Dominos” by the UK duo the Big Pink on XM Radio. I stopped what I was doing as soon as I heard the big, fat cascading Led Zeppelin-meets-Madchester drum wallop, the hypnotic chorus (“These girls fall like dominos! Dominos!”) and watched the elegant, dark performance video that brings to mind some lost 1980s new wave classic, complete with slow motion exploding ice sculptures.
The trio, fronted by Robbie Furze (who used to play guitar with digital hardcore icon Alec Empire) and Milo Cordell (who runs indie label Merok Records, home to Klaxons and Crystal Castles) excel at the kind of gauzy English drone rock that was pioneered a generation ago by the Jesus and Mary Chain and a legion of mop topped shoegazer bands. If you don’t believe me, listen to the slow motion jet engine roar of “Crystal Visions,” the opening track from the band’s just released debut album, A Brief History Of Love, which England’s NME described as “f— off massive.”
The warm envelope of dance trance continues on the tribal “Too Young to Love” and the waterlogged electronic folk tune “Love in Vain.” While they’ve denied the shoegazer tag, the band certainly has a sound set on stun on songs like the predictably hazy “Velvet” and the full blast beats-and-guitars manifestos “Frisk” and “Tonight.”
Whether you remember the baggy trousers Madchester rave rock scene of the ’90s or not, believe me when I tell you that A Brief History of Love is worth the trip. And consider this: The Big Pink are opening for Muse this fall, and those guys know a thing or two about making a royal racket.