JARVIS COCKER aka JARV IS…’Beyond the Pale’


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For a while there, it was easy to wonder whether Jarvis Cocker would ever release another album.

Not that there was ever much predictability to his solo years to begin with. After Pulp disbanded in the early ’00s, Cocker considered quitting music — then Nancy Sinatra called him to write some songs, and he wound up making a solo debut. Released in 2006, that self-titled album made a certain amount of sense; it wasn’t far off from Cocker’s Britpop-era material, but filtered through a bit more ’70s singer-songwriter traditions.  Each subsequent Jarvis Cocker album would be something totally different, each one a unique chapter in a career full of idiosyncrasies.

Beyond The Pale, with its concerns about humanity and its exploratory but world-weary instrumentation, could come across like a heavy document but Cocker flits amongst it all with his customary cleverness and agility. The whole thing sounds like a friend you haven’t seen in forever, returning and asking you to have a beer and shoot the shit about the collapse of civilization. He has a way of making you laugh at the absurdity and inevitability of everything and you’re struck by each observation he offers. It might not make you feel all that much better about the world outside, but then it’s good to see him again anyway.