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Monday, 18 May 2009

Further Complications: it's really bloody good

If we say that Pulp are possibly the greatest band of all time we're not being hyperbolic and we're not saying it to get up the noses of the 1960's purists, we're saying it because we genuinely believe that it's a possibility. With Jarvis Cocker at the helm they released a run of fantastic albums throughout the 1990's and into the 2000's and with said front-man had quiet simply the greatest pop star of all time in their mist. It's not just Jarvis' poetic turn of phrase or ability to get to the heart of social injustice that ensured such a place in pop history, but lest we forget that the man had the balls to get up on state at the Brits in 1995 and show a nations disgust at the shrivelled pop corpse of Michael Jackson pretending to be the sodding resurrection.

Since the Britpop bubble burst Jarvis left the national consciousness somewhat. The tabloids found someone else to pester whilst he maintained his artistic integrity, finally disbanding Pulp in 2002, after their sombre yet uplifting last record We Love Life. In 2006 the man returned with a brilliant solo album amidst a ton of bands who owed him and his former band a massive debt. Most of these bands are still around now and are the ones who are making an otherwise intolerable pop scene brilliant. Franz Ferdinand, Maxïmo Park and Art Brut may well of not existed on the national consciousness without the groundwork laid by Pulp for arch, literate pop. And without the influence of Jarvis and co. we can't see The Long Blondes as ever existing. Today saw the UK release of Mr Cocker's second album; Further Complications. This is why we're writing here today and why this piece has a more optimistic tone than the scathing attack on the pop charts that was going to be posted.

It's safe to say that Further Complications is not the best album that Jarvis Cocker has ever put out. To be honest we're not sure which one of 'the Britpop Trilogy' of His 'n' Hers, Different Class and This Is Hardcore we'd give that award to but to say that his latest release doesn't stand up to them is really no insult, especially seeing as it's still one of the best albums in what has been so far a rather exceptionally busy and good year. In our review of 'Angela' we said that Jarvis can do no wrong. We stand by that sentiment, as we'll demonstrate. Firstly let's preface this by telling you all that we HATE disco. I mean really hate it. It sends chills down our spine and makes us want to hiss like a cat defending it's territory. Now, as we were saying, Further Compilations ends with a nine minute (nearly – it's 8:45) disco workout. Said song 'You're In My Eyes (Discosong)' is totally brilliant. Using a backdrop of 'first-dance-at-a-wedding' type 80's pop Jarvis recalls a sad love song that instead of making us retch makes us swoon and visualise the glittering of the mirror balls and cheep flashing lights. Of course Jarvis is genius.

The highlight of this record though, for us is 'Leftovers' a pop song about meeting a woman at a dinosaur museum and … well let's just say the phrase “I'll make no bones about it is used”. The song cleverly veers towards the middle of the road, making the choice of subject matter all the more brilliant and apparent. Jarvis may be heading towards mid-life stage but where previously he was singing that “cunts are still running the world”, it's now obvious that they're running his more than ever. The man has one hell of a libido, and if popular music was created for something other than the sharing of sexual desires then no-one forwarded that message on to us. We're not going to go through a 'track by track' of this album or tell you which songs to download. This is for two reasons; Firstly: we wanted to get our gushing admiration for the man out of the way now so we can just sit back and enjoy the record without having to wonder what to write about it and Secondly: quite simply we think you should go out and buy it. If you don't own any Pulp material, while you're at the record shop or browsing on Amazon add Hits in too (it's as good a place as any to start). This record won't go any way to correcting the horrors that lay in the singles charts but to be frank we've just stopped caring about that now. We've always said that good music needs to appeal to at least one of the following: heart, hips or head. Jarvis Cocker's appeals to all three.
Keep/Pop/Loud

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