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    Jarvis Cocker

    Jarvis 8 ( 2006 )
    Loss Adjuster / Don't Let Him Waste Your Time / Black Magic / Heavy Weather / I Will Kill Again / Baby's Coming Back To Me / Fat Children / From A To I / Disney Time / Tonite / Big Julie / Loss Adjuster / Quantum Theory

    Oh, how we've waited for the return of one of the most popular characters from Britpop? And why should we seriously expect anything less than a good album from the man who competed with, and beat, Blur and Oasis at their finest? 1995 was Pulp's year for all the headlines that went to Blur and Oasis Pulp were the outsiders vote and an outsiders vote that sold millions of records. Guitarist now solo artist of some note, Richard Hawley and Pulp bassist Steve Mackey join Jarvis here, among others. What does it sound like then? Well, it doesn't sound exactly like any Pulp album did. The shine of 'Different Class' or 'His N Hers' is entirely absent. The darkness of latter-day Pulp is here only in places. No, it reminds me far more of earlier non-hit making Pulp, although with an assuredness that only comes with having been there and done that. 'Fat Children' is an anomaly in sounding like Jarvis meets indie-luminaries The Wedding Present, but other than that, nothing here will come as a terrible surprise to anybody. We're in familiar pop/rock/indie territory. Jarvis doesn't come across as any kind of earnest singer/songwriter. 'Fat Children' is a case in point. Jarvis in full-tilt indie-rock mode. Not a mode that entirely suits him, but the song is just such fun if not taken at all seriously. Latter day Pulp demanded almost we take it seriously. Approaching 'Jarvis' in the same way may lead you to disappointment. Expectations always get in the way with a solo release. Witness the reaction to Paul's generally fine 'McCartney' album, if you must.

    Just when you think 'Jarvis' is about to lose its way, a run of two or three great songs invariably pops up. The best run of which has to be 'Disney Time', flowing into 'Tonight' flowing into the best song here, 'Big Julie'. It's a proper Jarvis Cocker song with proper Jarvis lyrics. One of those character pieces, story-telling using the finest unlikely small detail that he does so well. Towards the other end of the album, the crunching chords of 'Black Magic' do very well and the song, which initially you may dislike, reveals itself to be far cleverer than upon first glance melodically. 'I Will Kill Again' and 'Baby's Coming Back To Me' are superior ballads and 'Disney Time' is a dark ballad. The songs inbetween don't always thrill, but this is a fine album and better than one or two lesser Pulp albums, certainly. As much as we could have reasonably hoped for, I think.

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    Readers Comments

    Mickey B hysterical@comcast.net
    Pretty much agree with your 8 rating. I have to admit that I've actually never really heard anything by Pulp before (the closest being Shatner's cover of Common People), but I'm quite impressed by this guy's musicianship. He can be cynical, happy, and sad, he's got a great voice and the instrumentation is top notch. Love your site. Keep the reviews up. As much as I disagree with some of your stuff - (Countdown to Ecstasy with a 7? That's my favorite album ever! Great Escape a 6.5? It's better than anything either Blur themselves or Oasis put out!) I agree with a lot of what you say and you've got a good ear for music.

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    Further Complications 8 ( 2009 )
    Further Complications / Angela / Pilchard / Leftovers / I Never Said I Was Deep / Homewrecker / Hold Still / Fuckingsong / Caucasian Blues / Slush / You're in My Eyes (Discosong)

    Who ever imagined Jarvis 'Pulp' Cocker would line-up with Steve Albini? Not only that but several of the songs on 'Further Complications' actually decide for themselves to 'ROCK OUT!' - usually those numbers co-written with members of the Jarvis Cocker solo-band. Producing this with noise-meister Steve Albini was always going to upset fans of, oooh, 'Common People' yet the wit and personality of Jarvis win through after repeated listens. The first gem and something of a showcase of the new Jarvis sound is 'Angela'. A thumpingly simple riff accompanies Jarvis in rock-god mode singing a good old song about some girl called 'Angela', in true Jarvis style. Fans of Pulp may well not be pleased because this is something else altogether musically, yet this is also pretty cool. The album frustratingly has been mixed very low so doesn't jump out the speakers like it should, but that's almost expected of Albini. Whilst a Joe Meek would literally have blisters on the tape, Albini's style insists the listener merely turns their stereo up, thus hopefully meaning the tune sounds good even on a shitty transistor. It's one of his rare compromises, although owners of a certain Apple MP3 player will get very annoyed all the same at the low volume here compared to other releases. Still, sod-em. This is called audio-fidelity and if you crank everything up Metallica style, anybody with hi-fi equipment that cost less than, let's say 100, will never get the chance to enjoy this properly. Rant over. By the way, 'Pilchard' is very rocking and very groovy. A mash up of Jarvis and Albini - who would have imagined it could actually work?

    'Caucasian Blues' is an almost impossibly unlikely Jarvis Cocker song title yet he sounds like he's really enjoying himself. Jarvis is no Nick Cave but even the god of gloom Nick Cave would appreciate the effort and unpretentious groove here. It's like punk rock without the punk, if that makes sense? Jarvis's backing band sound pretty well drilled, you see. Anyway, for those of you that wanted an old style Jarvis tear-jerker 'I Never Said I Was Deep' is the one. Absolutely brilliant tune, right up their with pre-britpop Pulp's best. There, I said it.

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    this page last updated 04/06/09

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