wed 17/08/2022

Album: JARV IS – Beyond the Pale | reviews, news & interviews

Album: JARV IS – Beyond the Pale

Album: JARV IS – Beyond the Pale

An ongoing live experience because life is an ongoing live experience

One nation under a groove in lockdown

National treasure Jarvis Cocker recently claimed in an interview with the New York Times that lyrics really aren’t that important. He’s so very wrong.

Within this very album – brief though it is (seven songs, 40 minutes) and long overdue (the band started working on the material in 2013) – are some exceptional titbits. Both thought provoking and merry making.

The whole album is so very much of these weird times. But it was with some prescience that tracks like recent single "House Music All Night Long" anticipated us all being stuck at home, unable to properly kick up our heels ("goddam this claustrophobia, ​’cause I should be disrobin’ ya" is a case in point, lyrics-wise). This is a collaborative affair and the bones of many of the tracks were recorded live – or in a cave, but that’s another story. Musically, it’s kind of all over the place but also distinctively Jarvis. The strong female backing vocals really add something.

"Save the Whale" has a hint of Tom Waits ("take your foots off the gas because it’s all downhill from here" is the opening gambit), "Sometimes I am Pharaoh" has a menacing air and is written from the perspective of one of those creepy street entertainers who pretend to be statues. He watches vacuous tourists miss the point and end up "eating fried food in front of famous buildings". Synth poppy "Am I Missing Something" ("the next stage in human evolution, happening on the outskirts of Luton") lightens the mood, whereas melancholic "Swanky Modes" ("in the days of VHS and casual sex") is pure Cocker-does-Alan-Bennett and that’s (obviously) no bad thing. Sleazy sounding "Children of the Echo" ("I was born in the middle of the second verse") is very Pulp-esque with its catchy chorus. But the standout track has to be the hugely uplifting and quite mad "MUST I EVOLVE". The entire human journey is captured in this romp and it boasts possibly the best lyric of 2019: "dragging my knuckles listening to Frankie Knuckles".

Jarvis is one cunning linguist.

Melancholic "Swanky Modes" ("in the days of VHS and casual sex") is pure Cocker-does-Alan-Bennett and that’s (obviously) no bad thing


Editor Rating: 
Average: 5 (1 vote)

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