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3.7 out of 5 stars
22
3.7 out of 5 stars
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on 2 May 2009
After the marvellous, though melancholy 'Jarvis'which considered weighty topics such as fatherhood and globalisation, 'Further Complications' sees Mr Cocker back on familiar lyrical ground (sex,frustration, romanticism and poetic flights of fancy).
However, sonically it is quite a different affair- with the guitars turned up to '11' and some of the rawest, howling vocals Jarvis has done since 'This Is Hardcore'.
But he hasn't lost his ear for a heart-wrenching chord change. 'Hold Still' and 'Slush' (written in response to his recent trip to the Arctic) are simply beautiful.
'There's even a Barry White moment on the closing track 'In My Eyes-Disco Song', which could have been horribly cheesy were it not for Jarvis' mellow vocals.
The instrumental tracks such as Pilchard take a few listens, but after 25 years of songwriting, you've got to hand it to Jarvis Cocker for still daring to be different.
'Further Complications' may not sell by the bucketload, but I guarantee it will maintain your interest longer than most of the competition.
Stand out tracks:
'Slush'
'I Never Said I Was Deep'
'Hold Still'
'Further Complications'
'Homewrecker'
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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.
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Whereas Jarvis' debut solo album found him mainly offering a watered down version of latterday Pulp, Further Complications sounds like the proper beginning of Jarvis the solo star.

It's all so obvious now. Stick Jarvis in a studio with Steve Albini and he turns into a British Nick Cave. The humour is still there in abundance, one-liners are delivered as clinically as ever, but Emperor Albini forces the bespectacled one to join the darkside. The spirit of The Stooges is revived by Homewrecker in a way that Albini never got to do with Iggy himself a couple of years back. Caucasian Blues takes no prisoners.

At the end of all this there's space for the uplifting disco finale of You're In My Eyes. Elsewhere, I Never Said I Was Deep is his best singalong anthem in over a decade - but that, I suspect, is purely by chance because this isn't a Britpop star trying to reconnect with the masses, this is a master of his trade telling the listener to put up or shove off. That being said, there's nothing complicated about appreciating Further Complications, it's some kind of return to form from the man whose form is the greatest British pop song of the 90s, Common People.

You only have to look to the current crop of conveyor belt indie stars to know they don't make 'em like Jarvis anymore.
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on 12 June 2009
I have to say first of all congratulations Jarvis on a fantastic album, `Further Complications' is awesome. I swear I had it in my cd player for days and days; I couldn't stop playing it... lovely! There is real personality in this work. I love the divine `I Never Said I Was Deep' it's gorgeous and is followed nicely by the rocky extroverted `Homewrecker' but my favourite by far is `You're In My Eyes (Discosong)' I can barely believe how listenable this song is. WOW! Good-on-you Jarvis! Thank you very very much. X X X
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on 23 May 2009
The 2nd album from Jarvis is another piece of brilliance. Strong, catchy tunes with clever lyrics, as down and dirty as some of the best Pulp tracks. A joy to own, and sitting on repeat on both my MP3 player and hi-fi. Rock with Angela and the title track, sigh along with the beauty of Hold Still and Slush, dance away the night with You're in My eyes (Discosong)but whatever you do, buy this glorious music and enjoy...
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on 27 May 2009
For the words, the words. 'We like Life' was alright in it's arty way but nothing in it was quite up to the sick well written truthful perfection of 'This is hardcore' 'Different Class' and 'His n' Hers', so I tuned out for a while. 'Further Complications' is definitely Cocker enjoying writing bullets again. 'Leftovers' and 'I never said I was deep' on this album are every bit the PULP we learned to love, and 'Hold Still', 'Further Complications' are both setting out again in good new directions.

JOLLY GOOD SHOW MR COCKER SAH!
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The sheer fact that this album has divided opinion so much for me, signifies what a triumph this record is. First listening had me wondering what on earth Jarvis was up to.

Number one, the production is proper Steve Albini, drums at the front, strong guitar and a very raw sound. Quite a contrast to the fairly polished, melancholy solo debut. But the songs are strong, true, possibly not instant poptastic classics, but strong and distinctive.

Jarvis is howling like a banshee at times and sounds like he's properly unleashed and on very fine form indeed.

This is a very surprising record and really stamps its mark as one of the most distinctive and quality records of this year so far.
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on 6 November 2009
Dunno about you, but I like a bit of despair and anguish in my music every now and again and Jarvis has served up both here in his own inimitable way and produced an absolutely terrific album. Rather than foisting on us some tuneless dirges as one reviewer has suggested, he has created a firey, hilarious, touching and most importantly, a listenable album.

It's not often that I can say that every track on an album stands up and is worth note, but this is most definitely the case with this disc right here. It rocks, grooves, prances and croons in equal measure, which is one way of saying it's incredibly varied. And to me, that is a brilliant thing. I have barely turned it off since I got it.

To me, Jarvis' first album was a little wishy washy, lacking in great tunes that hit you and stayed with you. But here he has hit a magnificent stride and made something of wonder. I could not recommend it more highly. If you like pop that rocks and rock that pops, this is for you.

Today's lyric of note: "Your life is just a carrier bag, oh they'll fill it and the straps will snap."
Quite!
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on 7 December 2010
I held off writing this review for a while because I didn't like it much at first and couldn't bring myself to write a negative review (He's my favourite musician).

It didn't help that I was busy staring staring into an abyss of despair at the time, then went and bought this album which has a theme of sex and death. The sex I didn't have a problem with but I found songs like Leftovers and Hold Still hard to listen to and still do (and to a much lesser extent Further Complications [the song] and Caucasian Blues). That's just me though - normal people may well like these songs (they've got good music and clever lyrics) - so basically I can't review these songs properly due to mental illness - bet you've never read that in an Amazon review!

I'm going to get what I don't like out of the way so I can end the review on a high. Slush is alright but not lyrically or musically anything to get too excited about - but I don't dislike it.

You're In My Eyes - I have a tendency to drift off when this song comes on and only remember it's playing when the ridiculous amount of feedback comes in at the end. Much better is the Pilooski Remix that was briefly available for free download from his website and I'm sure it can still be tracked down - this remix actually removes the choir which you'd think is removing the best bit but it's much catchier - and crucially shorter - more on that later.

So, the good stuff:

Fluffingsong is very catchy and lyrically very clever. The song is basically about how he's basically fluffing his fans sonically every time they play his music and how this is a perfect fluff and if he were to actually fluff you in real life it wouldn't be perfect and actually a bit rubbish. And messy.

Then there's I Never Said I was Deep which is too clever for it's own good. It feels like it might be biographical about the break up of his marriage - and if it is then it's almost unbelievably candid (although not quite at an Eminem level of candid) with lines like "If you want someone to share your life, you need someone that's alive", "I can't love you til the end of the night 'cause I'm afraid of the dark" and (check your mother's not in the room) "I'm not looking for a relationship, just a willing receptacle".

It's lines like that last one that make me love JC: Frank, sleazy, shocking and funny.

Then there's Homewrecker! - the song that makes me like saxophone solos (and if that puts you off don't let it because it would have put me off as well and it really is brilliant), great song and then he breaks down at the end - but without ruining the song.

Then there's Angela which is pretty straightforward but with some surprising lyrics and very catchy, and Pilchard which can only be defined as a 'sort of' instrumental, There is one word of lyrics repeated a few times then quite a few "oh"'s but mainly it's just a very brilliant bit of guitar and drums.

So there's plenty here to make it a worthwhile purchase and I'm glad that JC chose a new heavier direction - assuming he's going to try out other styles.

Personally I'd like to see him do a dance album next, and if that doesn't sound like a good idea to you then you must check out my compilation (I say compilation... you'll have to gather the songs yourself...) which I've tentatively titled:

DANCE JARVIS! DANCE!

1) Synchronize (Extended) - Discodeine featuring vocals by JC
2) I Picked A Flower - The Pastels feat. JC
3) Sunrise (Fat Trucker's Scott Free Mix) - Pulp
4) You're In My Eyes (Pilooski Remix) - Jarvis Cocker
5) Facts Of Life (Remix by The Chocolate Layers) - Black Box Recorder [The C.L. being JC and Steve Mackey]
6) Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Pelvis - Barry Adamson feat. JC
7) Drive Safely Darlin' - All Seeing I feat. JC
8) That Boy's Evil - Pulp
9) Into U - Richard X feat. JC
10)Lets Ride Megamix - Gonzales feat. JC and quite a few more
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on 25 October 2010
Really enjoying this album, especially Discosong and Angela. Good for any trip in the car.
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