Ex-Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker is back, and he’s pissed. Cocker started the Kinks-ish Britpop band in 1978 as a precocious 15-year-old and eventually put them on America’s radar with some mid-’90s near-hits. Now he’s released his first solo album stateside, but to little acclaim. It’s a shame because Cocker’s witty writing is as piercing as ever.
“Fat Children” serves as the anthemic standout, both lyrically and musically. With a rush of Stooges-like energy, Cocker sings about hefty tykes killing him for his cell phone. He ends passionately by railing, “Oh, the parents are the problem/Giving birth to maggots without the sense to become flies/So pander to your pampered little princess/of such enormous size.”
The volume turns down from there, but not the sentiment. “I Will Kill Again” is a slow, orchestral piece told from the eerie perspective of a murderer, and “Disney Time” equates cartoons to pornography against a backdrop of dire piano. “How come they’re called adult movies,” he sings, “when the only thing they show is people making babies filmed up close?”
Full of piss and vinegar, Jarvis proves Cocker’s return was long overdue. (Skylar Browning)