06 April 2007

Jarvis Cocker / Jarvis / Rough Trade [2007]

Jarvis Cocker
Choice cuts: "Disney Time," "Don't Let Him Waste Your Time," "I Will Kill Again"

Former Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker has taken his wry wit to the piano bench and crafted an expertly arranged condemnation of today's social landscape. "Jarvis" blends pessimism and bittersweet humor to produce a sardonic realism. Traditional pop arrangements of modest strings and guitar float gently around the anchor of keys.

In typical Cocker fashion, "Jarvis" is sex-infused lyrically, teetering between sensual sophistication and tawdry smut. The latter garners laughs when Cocker describes "some skinny bitch in some hot pants" on "Don't Let Him Waste Your Time." The song summons the feel-good stomp of "Instant Karma," coming off like John Lennon.

"Jarvis" is equal parts ballad and foot-tapping post-punk. "Black Magic" sounds like Spoon (which sounds like Pulp), before bursting into a Stones-y chorus ripe for a sing-a-long. "I Will Kill Again" perfects the disillusioned ballad: a portrait of a man in transition, considering the morality of pornography and expressing doubts about a new marriage.

Pessimistic uncertainty carries throughout the entire record. Cocker wrestles with internal demons (like fatherhood and celebrity) and the weight they carry. A lyricist first and foremost, Cocker isn't afraid to tackle the universal and it's timeliness, as he reminds us that indeed, "cunts are still running the world." Its eponymous title is a clear declaration. This is Jarvis' record and he proves he can stand on his own two feet, without the crutch of a band or a booming Britpop scene.
- Joseph Coscarelli

WSN Reviews

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