Jarvis Cocker

In the second part of my series on modern rock frontmen growing amusing beards, we review former Pulp singer Jarvis Cocker’s recently released Further Complications, a follow-up to his solo debut, simply titled Jarvis. Surely the man who brought us the Britpop anthem ‘Common People’ has some more music left in him. This time around, Steve Albini of Surfer Rosa and In Utero fame joins the fray as producer.

As a whole, the album seems to be preoccupied with rocking out. I’m not normally averse to some good riffage, but Jarvis Cocker’s strength has always been as a lyricist and storyteller. The sludgy rockers present on this album tend to drown out Jarvis’ vocals, diminishing their effect. The leadoff single ‘Angela’, is particularly guilty of this. That damn riff completely overpowers the rest of the song. Combined with the repeated chorus, it seems to be lacking the sophistication I’ve come to expect from Mr. Cocker. The title track and ‘Homewrecker!’ perform a slightly better balancing act between the straight-up rock and witty lyricism, but something about ‘Angela’ just irks me. Perhaps I watch too much of The Office?

The album fares best on the slower tracks when Jarvis has some breathing room to enter his patented sleazy/seductive/confessional mode, as on album stand-out ‘I Never Said I Was Deep’. I have always thought that if you are going to use a metaphor, you should make it slightly ridiculous. “If every relationship is a two-way street, I have been screwing in the back whilst you drive” certainly passes with flying colours. The closing track, ‘You’re in My Eyes (Discosong)’ is another highlight. The summery, 70’s vibe suggested within the parentheses makes this track particularly refreshing.

I often get myself into these situations with artists I’ve followed for a long time. If they do something different, I pine for times gone by, but when they stick with the usual stuff I find myself disinterested. That’s not to say this is a bad album, far from it, but the harder edge is a little jarring. Perhaps subverting expectations was the goal, if so, mission accomplished.

Jarvis Cocker – I Never Said I Was Deep
Jarvis Cocker – Further Complications
Jarvis Cocker – Homewrecker!

After the break, witness the beardless Jarvis Cocker in the video for ‘Don’t Let Him Waste Your Time’ from his first solo album.

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— , June 14, 2009    2 Comments

Primavera es está en el aire, spring is in the air.  In Spain, anyway. (Thanks for Marc for the correction… clearly, my Spanish still has a ways to go!) Considering the pilgrimage to Coachella was a bit unmanageable this year, my summer concert festival will be Barcelona’s Primavera Sound 2009. The three-day tunesfest takes place may 28 to 30 (next week) and features a indie-packed international crew that will make your head spin. There are few names on the playbill that we haven’t yet spun here at Ca Va Cool, (as well as some old classics) so I thought I would do the honours and throw the records in the jukebox for all to hear. And, there’s a selection of favourites for good measure.

Download | Primavera Sound Festival 2009 Preview

girls-2

01 | Girls – Lust for Life / Lust for Life EP / 2009

Talk about an ingenious way to prevent pirating: Band name = Girls. EP name = Lust for Life. Search results = sketchy. I’m not even sure how to buy this EP, owing to my fear of opening any of the Google hits. But this track holds a lot of promise for the San Francisco group; irony, clarity, and levity. If anyone discovers the proper way to buy this album, comment away.

a-certain-ratio

02 | A Certain Ratio – Teri / Mind Made Up / 2008
03 | A Certain Ratio – Do the Du / Do the Du 12” / 1981

One of the original Factory Records post-punk bands, A Certain Ratio were featured in one of the best music movies ever, 24 Hour Party People. While maybe not explicitly named as one of the forerunners in the Madchester scene, they followed the wave by making the move into house music. Their most recent releases have been more-or-less modernized versions of their original sound, with some exceptions (like the dreamy ‘Teri’ included here).

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— , May 23, 2009    5 Comments