Being the British Pop Poet Laureate is a strange job. And whilst thankfully, The Jarv hasn't been appointed to write songs about royalty - for if he did, the first one would probably have a line about Charles being a tampon and Camilla having a crampon and Prince Harry, the Nazi - and all the other things we think but shouldn't say - he'd immediately resign. Or be hung.
The important thing is that Jarvis Cocker is still working - and not being rubbish at it. Whereas many contemporaries have drifted into lazy parody, Cocker is out there. Unlike Pulp, where the infusion of old-skool synths gave the music an instantly dated summer-of-1974 feel, here on the second record - "Further Complications" - Cocker goes for a different type of dating ; a throwback to an angry glam rock, built on Cro-Magnon guitar riffs and fuzzy, filthy bass.
The album is simpler than Jarvis previous work ; in the way that Nick Cave's "Grinderman" was still, obviously, Nick Cave ; albeit gutteral, more primal. "Caucasian Blues" is a rampage; Jarvis pushes the limits of his blues to a shredded howl - or as much of one that Cocker can produce.
Cocker is still in the gutter, still looking at the stars. The opening lines of "Fckingsong" encapsulate this : the musical version of Alex the Droog on his knees prostrate in front of the vision of desire, unable to touch. It's raw, eloquent, desire, the sound of a man who can articulate love but unable to experience it. The 17 year old who circles his love, but finds all their heart needs actually wants is an older lover with a job and a car. What the heart desires is Further Complications, the drama of passion and love.
In many ways, this reminds of the Relaxed Muscle album Jarvis made, a set of sultry, sometimes obtuse songs, experiments from the template where Jarvis moves away from what you expect : "Pilchard" is a three minute instrumental romp with Jarvis breathing heavily over it. Sounds rubbish ; it's magnificently simple. "Homewrecker" sounds like a sex crazed cross of The Blues Brothers, James Brown, and British Repression.. It's still obviously Him, the core essence of his artistic identity stamped all over the record, but to me, nothing as obvious as "Don't Let Him Waste Your Time" from the 'Jarvis Cocker Record'.
The album is bookended by the apt "Discosong", a hymn to the end of the night, the last dance, and with that, "Further Complications" disappears into the ether, a UFO ascending the heavens. It's not a bad trip to take, to explore Jarvis innerspace.
Or, put it this way : You'll want to listen to this a lot more than the Oasis album.