Jarvis Cocker – “Further Complications”

jarvis_furthercomplicationsThe worst thing about reading biography into albums (or movies, or books) is not that it’s entirely un-verifiable and easily subject to reviewer bias/confabulation – it’s a pretty boring way to filter your art. This is an understandable fetish; it gives the writer something to write about; there might be some small grain of truth to it. However, that does not make it any more of a writerly (and self-satisfying, not edifying) exercise.

So, yes, Jarvis Cocker got divorced and yes, the new album is full of songs from the His And Hers-era sleazebag plus fifteen years of getting paunchier, and with more direct, elaborate strategies for getting some. Rather than hide in closets, this Jarvis will secretly penetrate his conquests with his song (specifically with “Fuckingsong”). By the time the album closes, the return of the sleazthario is in full force: “You’re In My Eyes (Discosong)” makes me want to start a band just to write songs like it: disco for straight, white, older-than-they-wish-they-were men.

However, the most remarkable aspect of “Further Complications” is the fact that Jarvis has one hell of a band behind him. On Jarvis the music is fine, but it feels like a lyric delivery system, mixed and arranged so that everything he says is clear – punctuated by the music, not propelled by it. On “Further Complications” the music is front and center. The first chord of the album has a droney, post-rock feel that could be the start of one of Boris’ enormous doom-rock tracks. A groove quickly descends on Jarvis as he sings (not too far up in the mix) about being born “three weeks late, in no hurry to join the rest of the human race.” And the grooves take over and direct the words. “Leftovers,” in particular, feels like J.C. (not Jesus, same initials) riffing and goofing over the music, which slinks and rocks.

Jarvis is a singer-songwriter album. “Further Complications” is a rock album.

I like rock.
Rating: B+

About Kent Conrad

To contact Kent Conrad, email kentc@explodedgoat.com