Album Review: Jarvis Cocker – Further Complications

To me, there is but one voice that marries the slink of super sexy seduction with droll, wry realism. That voice, my loves, belongs to Jarvis Cocker, the lanky and exceedingly droll frontman for the divine band Pulp, one of the best of the Britpop bunch, the band that made you drink and dance and screw while Blur and Oasis were waging war in the charts with their Wonderwalls and their Country Houses. Having steered Pulp for over two decades, Cocker took advantage of a lengthy lull in Pulp relations and released a rather excellent solo record, succinctly titled Jarvis. Full of the razor-sharp, sarcastic pragmatism that made Pulp so great, Jarvis was a wonderful listen (particularly the glorious songs “Black Magic” and “Tonite”). And so with the news of a second solo record, I was rather pleased and excited to see what Jarvis had to offer up the second time around.

Further Complications begins with the snappy little title track, a rollicking romp through the banalities and tribulations of modernity. As you might expect, Jarvis and his voice are the star attractions, the combination of his lyrics and that voice always proving to be a winning one. “Angela” is a dancefloor gem, not quite up to par with “Common People” or “Disco 2000” of the heydays of Pulp, but pretty fine nonetheless with its handclaps and fuzzy riffs. “I wanna love you/whilst we both still have flesh upon our bones,” Jarvis offers in his dry, no-frills delivery, “before we both become extinct,” touching upon a few of his favorite themes, sex and aging and death. But as ever, Cocker makes his dark, brooding frankness ever so appealing with the overflowing bounty of his wit and that knack for clever, engaging lyrics.

“If every relationship is a two-way street/I have been screwing in the back whilst you drive”, comes the sardonic line in “I Never Said I Was Deep”, one of the best of the best on Further Complications. It’s not exactly breaking news, but I’ll just go ahead and reiterate the fact that nobody does cynical self-deprecation better than Mister Cocker. “Hold Still” shows off Cocker’s penchant for the sexy sidle of 70s-influenced lounge, and it’s not hard to imagine Jarvis holding one of those thin microphones while swaying around a plush set on some retro pop music program, bright lights reflecting in those thick specs that have become his trademark over the years as he come hithers for the folks at home.

It was initially a bit hard for me to let go of the Jarvis from Pulp thing, given how smitten I was for that wonderful band. However, given this second solo recording, the ties are easily cut. Further Complications is a great record, and leaves no doubt as to who’s behind it. Be it in Pulp or on his own, Jarvis Cocker is a force to be reckoned with. And I think it’s a fairly safe thing to say that anything he touches will be pretty bloody fantastic.

mp3: Further Complications (Jarvis Cocker from Further Complications)


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