Album #188: JARV IS… – Beyond the Pale

  • Released: 2020
  • Origin: Sheffield, England
  • Label: Rough Trade
  • Best Track: Must I Evolve?

Just over six months ago, Jarvis Cocker found himself unexpectedly in with a shout of a Christmas number 1 with a campaign to get his 2006 song “Cunts are Still Running the World” to the top of the charts in response to the Conservatives winning the 2019 election.

He had to settle for a #48 place in the end, but the episode shows that his blunt, acerbic wit is needed more than ever in these desperate times. Now 56, Jarvis is back with a new band named after a play on his first name.

There’s no doubt Pulp were one of the best British bands of the ’90s. Outside of Pulp, I haven’t always warmed to Jarvis’ work quite so much, and Beyond the Pale is probably only in the “quite liked it” category. It does, however, have a good atmosphere and sinister undercurrent throughout its seven, somewhat soundtrack-like songs.

I particularly like ‘Must I Evolve?’, a depressingly matter-of-fact look at existence that I can relate to having shared of the thoughts he expresses.

As always, Jarvis’ lyrics are a treat on this record. If we ever needed some comfortingly uncomfortable British wit, it’s now.

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