A lyric whose key line is “Your life is just a carrier bag”, songs called ‘Pilchard’ and ‘Leftovers’. Yes, another idiosyncratic British songwriter is back and it’s Jarvis Cocker, who has been relating his own idiosyncracies to recorded music for over a quarter of a century now. ‘Further Complication’ is his second solo album and it’s noticeably rawer in sound than the first.
‘Angela’, ‘Fuckingsong’ and ‘Homewrecker!’ are straight-ahead glam rockers, free of pretension or, indeed, much production but all the better for it. For ‘Caucasian Blues’ he even loses his breath whilst singing; perhaps again wanting to prove that he is human and he is flawed. If the aforementioned ‘Pilchard’ is a fairly pointless dronefest, ‘Leftovers’ is much better than its title suggests, where Cocker claims he just need a cuddle after all and a similar self-effacing theme is explored for ‘I Never Said I Was Deep’ as he admits “his lack of knowledge is vast”.
So Cocker is laying his emotions bare for all to see and the primitive production for most of ‘Further Complications’ reminds me of his work as one half of Relaxed Muscle. Then at the end are two surprises that reveal ambition beyond the rough and ready outlook. ‘Slush’ is a slow burning but atmospheric number and for ‘You’re In My Eyes’, Cocker goes all Barry White. It may sound like Cocker singing along to an Avalanches track being played in a separate room but it’s arguably the most stunning offering here.
‘Further Complication’ does – on more than one occasion – sound like the diary of a dirty old man and it makes no effort to hide that fact. Yet as well as this, the music fits Mr. Cocker very well and he relates his inner troubles to an audience that still finds him fascinating. On this evidence, it’s easy to see why.
Pulp, Relaxed Muscle, Pony Club