The post The Big Pink Break Down New Album The Love That’s Ours Track By Track: Exclusive appeared first on Consequence.
Track by Track is a recurring feature series in which artists take us through every song on their latest album. Today, The Big Pink’s Robbie Furze breaks down The Love That’s Ours, the band’s first album in a decade.
UK indie rock outfit The Big Pink have returned with their third studio album, The Love That’s Ours, today (September 30th). Having been a decade since their last release, The Big Pink’s homecoming effort is a paradoxical statement. The pensiveness of the tracks is underscored by the album’s sense of joy, whereas the band’s return is sparked by the highs and lows of life.
The 11 tracks of The Love That’s Ours include contributions from the likes of The Kills’ Jamie Hince, Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Nick Zinner, Ryn Weaver, Jamie T, Ed Harcourt, and more. The Big Pink derived the album’s sounds from an array of genres and artists — some of a similar background and some not so much.
Frontman Robbie Furze tells Consequence that “Even If I Wanted To” draws inspiration from two legendary figures in soul music. “Ryn Weaver bowls into the studio one morning singing, ‘Even if I wanted to/ I couldn’t fight my renegade side,’” Furze remembers. “She said, ‘Let’s hang a whole track on that lyric!’ It’s a tough track. It has echoes of classic soul tune gods like Marvin Gaye or Otis Redding.”
Not all of The Love That’s Ours’ influence stems directly from music, however. The homesick-fueled “I’m Not Away to Stay Away” is a Shakespearean-like narrative track reminiscent of one of literature’s most iconic pieces.
“I guess it bubbled up to the surface of my mind due to missing my home and family,” Furze says. “I turned the verses into a metaphorical murder/suicide love story. The old Romeo and Juliet story structure. We will live together forever, wherever we are dead or alive.”
For Furze, much of The Love That’s Ours serves as an homage to those close to him. It’s fitting that the album’s bookend tracks follow this pattern, as album opener “How Far We’ve Come” acts as an ode to Furze’s wife — a moment that he say “had to be the first song on the album.”
“It’s a song to my wife really — it’s almost an apology — it’s also telling her how grateful I am and telling her how much hope I have for our future,” Furze explains. “I think it could also be listened to and relatable to one’s own interpretation, that’s just what it’s about to me.”
The project’s closing track, “Lucky One,” embodies the sense of melancholy found in the 10 songs before it. Penned about the death of Furze’s close friend Rob Browning, Furze and Weaver came together again to change the meaning of the track, which includes a chorus alluding to the unpredictability of life.
“I was literally crying over my computer when Ryn Weaver called me,” Furze says. “After explaining what was wrong and what had happened to Rob, she drove over and we changed the meaning of ‘Lucky One’ into a song about Rob. The chorus is “‘Cause I’m the lucky one, drew a blank while we played with our roulette gun.’ I mean, how incredible is that line? The premise is we all party, get up to stupid shit, take chances — and Rob was just unlucky. It’s such a sad song. I still cry when I listen to it.”
The waves of emotion that crash down throughout The Love That’s Ours are felt on each track. The sense of sorrow permeates your body just as easily as the merriment does. Returning from a hiatus is never an easy task no matter the situation. Even after a decade’s wait, The Big Pink’s return is a triumphant one — one that mediates and appreciates the moments that lead to this effort.
Listen to The Big Pink’s The Love That’s Ours below, along with Furze’s Track by Track breakdown of the album.
“How Far We’ve Come”:
It had to be the first song on the album. It’s a song to my wife really — it’s almost an apology — it’s also telling her how grateful I am and telling her how much hope I have for our future. I think it could also be listened to and relatable to one’s own interpretation, that’s just what it’s about to me.
I started it in a writing session at Sarm Studios off Portobello Road in London. It was a track originally for an artist called IO ECHO. The world-renowned David McCracken (Ian Brown), myself and Leo Ross (brother to Atticus Ross), and Ioanna (lead singer of IOECHO) were all in a room together and at that point, we walked out with just the chorus.
The next stage was a magical guitar recording session in Los Angeles with killer producer Jon Gilbert. Somehow, I assembled a dream team consisting of Jeordie White (Twiggy Ramirez from Marilyn Manson) and Nick Zinner (Yeah Yeah Yeahs). Jeordie is one of the most talented bass and guitar players I’ve ever played with. Tight as fuck!
Watching Nick lay down his guitars was one of the wildest experiences I’ve ever had in my career. He asked to turn the track down to almost inaudible. I was sitting on the sofa about three meters behind him and I couldn’t hear the track at all. He sat in the middle of the two studio speakers and had them turned facing directly towards each of his ears.
Then he started doing recording passes and sort of fingerpicking rather than using a plectrum. The wild thing about this was that his guitars sounded like someone is literally destroying the guitar smashing it around the recording studio, but in reality, it was this very sensitive and considered recording process.
[Finally, I stepped] into the Cathedral of the mighty Tony Hoffer. Tony is the Michelangelo of producers, a true renaissance man. He does it all! I walked into his studio with a crooked lump of marble and walked out with fucking David! He carved and polished and painted and drew the most beautiful musical parts and production to each and every song. A musical genius and hero and now a dear, dear friend.
“No Angels” was one of the songs that kind of wrote itself. Still living in LA, I had just returned from a long, but amazing US tour supporting Wolf Alice [in] the summer of 2018. I was just in the right mindset to write a great song from being heavily influenced by sharing the stage night after night with such an incredible band. All my feelings of being alienated from my life in London, I guess just welled up.
Musically, the track was built off this crazy beautiful sample from a band called Bad Cop — their song is called “Light On.” I was driving over to my best friend in the world’s [house], Jamie Hince from The Kills, one sunny Los Angeles afternoon, and this song just came on the radio completely out of the blue. I was mesmerized by it and scrambled for my phone to Shazam it.
The second I walked into Jamie’s house we listened to the song together, and we both couldn’t believe how cool this track was. I had to sample it! That night I returned to my studio and started the process. The song was pretty much completed by the morning.
“Love Spins on Its Axis”:
I started this track with Jamie Reynolds (ex-Klaxons) one afternoon in London. The first version was a sort of hip-hop-sounding track. Jamie was in a hip-hop hybrid, crazy mix guitars, and rappers group called YOTA at the time. They were fucking amazing. I had this idea, I wanted to write a song about a love revolution, that love needs to conquer all for the world to keep spinning. We sort of walked out with an idea, but it didn’t quite make the light of day, sadly. The idea of a “love” fight song never left my thoughts.
So cut to back in LA with Jamie Hince from The Kills — we were in his studio geeking out over programming and rhythms; he works with MPCs a load and he played me a few of his latest beats. This one loop came on and it just blew me away! I begged him for it and I am so grateful that he gave it to me.
I’m in my car driving full speed back to my studio with that beat in my back pocket, by that evening “Love Spins On Its Axis” was born! I then posted it over to the ears of Jamie T. (I only have best friends called Jamie, apparently.) Within 24 hours, Jamie T sent it back to me with soaring backing vocals and monster guitar parts. Just took it next level.
I wrote this track with the siren that is Ryn Weaver. She is the most talented human on the planet. We sat in my studio in LA with just a guitar trying to find simple notes that moved well between verse and bridge, bridge and chorus. This approach is super foreign to me. I rarely ever start a track like this. This feels like such an old school way of writing a song, but maybe is the classic way for a reason.
We wanted to write a beautiful fight song. Ryn wanted to scream “RAGE AGAINST THE DAY!” but scream it from our souls through a beautiful melody — to have an aggressive word tied into soft harmonies. I think we achieved it! I love this song, it’s just a great writing tune and lyrically flawless. Ryn is the Master of conceptual lyricism. We work so well together. I miss her madly. Again, in the Cathedral of Tony Hoffer, he lit the fire under this that made it skyrocket. Job done.
Another song from a wonderful writing session with Ryn Weaver. It’s a love song, but upbeat. I think we’d just finished “Rage,” so it was time to turn the energy up. We wanted to make a punk track with energy asking someone “not to be left out in the cold, left out in the dog house.” Maybe that was the idea. We listened to “I Wanna Be Your Dog” way too much. Tony transformed this with crazy cross rhythms and 808s in a real mix of genres. One of the most interesting on the record.
“I’m Not Away to Stay Away”:
There is this Scottish folk song called “We’re no awa’ tae bide awa.” It’s originally an old drinking song, but has become a “goodbye, farewell” song. Young men going off to war would sing it to their sweethearts on the dock as they were leaving to fight for their country.
As a little boy, I spent a long time in Scotland with my great aunt and uncles. They would sit around fires, drinking whiskey and after they’d finished watching “Dallas” or whatever sitcom, they would all start singing, and this was one of the big hits.
I guess it bubbled up to the surface of my mind due to missing my home and family. I turned the verses into a metaphorical murder/suicide love story. The old Romeo and Juliet story structure. We will live together forever, wherever we are dead or alive.
Only two of the Jamies joined me on this track. Jamie Hince on guitar and Jamie T on BVs, guitars, and champion claps! All three of us have, many times, been drunk singing this track, so maybe that whiskey is still soaked in there somewhere.
“Safe & Sound”:
A piano ballad! First time heard in the history of The Big Pink. I think this song gives Harry Styles a run for his money. I started this with an amazing writer called Peter Stengaard — he has this beautiful studio in his house in Los Angeles. The house is massive and sits on the top of one of these hills looking down into the city. We started trying to get the chorus, which was such an uncomfortable approach for me.
I hated this session at the beginning. I was texting Ryn Weaver to call me with a fake emergency to get me out of there. Obviously, thank God she didn’t. I just couldn’t hear the song; I wasn’t feeling it. It all felt wrong, just not me.
Sensing my discomfort, Peter asked me to walk with him to the other side of the house and there was this massive beautiful white grand piano. He told me, “Just sing the chorus,” and he played the piano. It was in that moment that the penny dropped. It clicked and all made sense. Suddenly I was Nick Cave in “The Ship Song.” It felt cool; timeless.
I immediately called Ryn and told her that I was on the brink of something really special. I was so excited, I told her that she had to meet me back at my studio right away that evening. As soon as she heard the top line, she knew exactly what I was trying to say. We had spoken at length about this purgatory I felt I was existing in, and the verse words just fell out of us.
The second verse lyrics are the best on the record… these lines sum up the record perfectly, and that’s why I pulled this lyric from this song as the title of the record: “The love that’s ours.”
This track was one of the only tracks written completely in London. I wrote it with this amazing writer Liam O’Donnell, who’s a friend of Tony Hoffer and a massive Clash fan. Two home runs in my book! We completed this track — music and lyrics — all in one day, which is always the dream. It’s a classic Big Pink sound, back to Jesus and Mary Chain with Clash vocals. A great pink rock tune.
“Back to My Arms”:
This song came from an introduction to an incredible songwriter named Mark Stony. We are just cut from the same cloth. He came over to my studio in LA and we planted a seed that’s blossomed into a beautiful friendship. It’s a dark love song. I had lost connection with my wife at the time, so it has sad memories.
“Even If I Wanted To”:
Ryn Weaver bowls into the studio one morning singing, “Even if I wanted to/ I couldn’t fight my renegade side.” She said, “Let’s hang a whole track on that lyric!” It’s a tough track. It has echoes of classic soul tune gods like Marvin Gaye or Otis Redding. UK artist Mark Stoney stepped in to help finish this one, too. I love the energy of collaborating. I hate working on my own, I always have, and I guess always will — it’s so boring and lonely.
This is the saddest moment on the record. It’s about the death of my beautiful, wonderful friend Rob Browning. He passed at the end of 2019. We were all still in Los Angeles. We had become super close partying [as] fellow musicians [and] we even started a leather jacket line to upgrade vintage leather biker jackets. He was one of my best friends.
Anyway, the worst call that anyone can ever get, happened. It came the morning after we’d been out together. LA is a scary place at times, it’s not easy. It’s a hard experience and can take down some of the toughest. When I started this song, it came from a completely different place, it had a whole different meaning. I originally wrote the track with the amazing musician Ed Harcourt, but it sat unfinished for quite some time.
I was literally crying over my computer when Ryn Weaver called me. After explaining what was wrong and what had happened to Rob, she drove over and we changed the meaning of “Lucky One” into a song about Rob. The chorus is “‘Cause I’m the lucky one, drew a blank while we played with our roulette gun.” I mean, how incredible is that line? The premise is we all party, get up to stupid shit, take chances — and Rob was just unlucky. It’s such a sad song. I still cry when I listen to it.
I have so many thank yous and I’m so proud of these tracks. It’s been an incredible journey and to have this as the prize at the end is a blessing. I hope the world hears it and loves it like I do.