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Jarvis Cocker - Further Complications
In which Jarvis Cocker rocks in the only way a chap dressed as a slightly seedy geography teacher can: self-consciously.
Never one for utter abandon, Jarvis's knowing rocker stance has a certain frisson now, since the recent news of his marriage breakdown. Much of Further Complications shares the old-boy-starting-over pose of Nick Cave's Grinderman crisis, a sense of a grizzled star checking he's still got it.
Even while he's buzzing to Kinks-y riffs and leering over the rather younger 'Angela', Jarvis is still detached: "I feel the sap rising tonight," he whispers, before undermining his priapic pose. "A dry stick at the end of a branch."
This is a harder set of songs than the drifters on his debut solo album; gritty guitars dominate and there's a higher concentration of acerbic lines. 'Homewrecker!' rollicks along on wild Roxy Music sax, painting an adulterer as anti-superhero while a thinly disguised Batman theme blares. Put-downs (to himself?) are spat out on 'Caucasian Blues', a bitter take on a man's shortcomings set to riotous glam rock.
It's not all doom and gloom, as Jarvis shows his deft way with an extended metaphor - "I met her in the Museum of Palaeontology," he croons on the sweet 'Leftovers', "And I make no bones about it". He stretches a point again on 'Slush''s Wall of Sound, remembering, "You fell out of the sky/Covered up all my faults like snow... My heart melted at your touch/Turned into slush". It's earthy yet grand.
But as we saw once before on Pulp's This Is Hardcore, a bit of disaffection suits Jarvis. Further Complications is lean, mean stuff and - flashes of characteristic irony aside - suggests he could find comfort in his tougher skin.