Jarvis Cocker

Further Complications (Rough Trade)


Rating: NN


What influenced ex-Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker – he of the smart, cutting lyrics and tweed jackets – to take direction from producer Steve Albini – he of abrasive alt-rock – for his disappointing second solo album?

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Was it Albini’s band Rapeman, or perhaps his work with Flogging Molly?

It’s hard to say, but it’s easy to spot the failures of such a pairing. Cocker doesn’t know what to do over fuzzy, big-beat alt, often opting for cathartic noises instead of actual singing. His brilliant, whispery, Gainsbourgh-like vocal delivery is replaced by base shouting, his hilarious wordplay reduced to grating, beat-poet-like observations.

Understandably, Cocker wants to depart from the likes of Common People, his stylish yet timeless Britpop anthem, but why leave his strongest suit – wry, dense lyricism – behind? In place of a chorus in Angela, he repeats the title maybe 30 times. Then, in the very next track, there’s not a single word. This from the man who wrote Babies!

More than a decade out of Britpop, it may be that Cocker can’t figure out his place in modern music. Wherever that place may be, it’s definitely not in the dated alt-90s fare found here.

Top track: I Never Said I Was Deep

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