The Big Pink struggles to escape the haze



The Big Pink may well be one of the next big things – the U.K. outfit’s debut album “A Brief History of Love” certainly delivers the goods – but the quartet’s L.A. debut on Wednesday night at the El Rey Theatre was less than rosy.

It was all smoke-and-strobes and a little bit smoke-and-mirrors as the the band – the brainchild of Milo Cordell and Robbie Furze and touring as a four-piece – largely overplayed their moody shoegazer pose to the point that their 45-minute excursion felt much longer. In a way, it reminded me of the first L.A. show I saw by their Scottish sonic brethren Glasvegas (who got much better in ensuing sightings); the posturing outstripped the payoff.

Which is not to say that, absent a few technical glitches and the too-smothered vocals, the Big Pink didn’t pull off their big, dark sound. Singles such as “Dominos,” “Velvet” and “At War With the Sun,” tunes that fuse the lightning of rock with the thunder of techno, were as muscular as advertised. Yet too often the sheets of distortion and furious rhythms of drummer Akiko Matsuura (along with electro beats) pummeled the melody lines into submission, where the nifty electronic flourishes that color “A Brief History of Love” were already cowering.

That Matsuura’s drum kit died tragically at the end of the night might have been somehow fitting. But the Big Pink’s deliriously overarching songs of love will live to see another day. In fact, I hope they’re resuscitated for Coachella.

||| Live: The Big Pink play Friday at the Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa.