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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Jarvis Cocker
Jarvis
Rough Trade

Rating: 8/10 ?


May 18, 2007
There exist few middle-aged artists in the world who can grumble a line that reads "Fat children took my life" and make it work. Then again, Jarvis Cocker is probably the only one who'd try it. The ex-Pulp frontman continues his signature methods of cultural evisceration on his solo debut, Jarvis, free swinging at government, leadership, family systems and even child obesity.

Perhaps it's the addition of former Longpigs guitarist Richard Hawley to Cocker's band, the former fringe Britpop star bringing his signature guitar swells into the fold. Or maybe it's just the ridiculous nature of Cocker's delivery or even his refreshingly plain-spoken lyricism. Either way, Jarvis is a solid, thought-provoking album. While it's hardly a masterpiece, endless bitching and lines like "Cunts are still running the world" serve as both the floor and the ceiling for measuring the artistic merit of a piece like this.

Still, you purchase an album by the bespectacled Cocker because you're looking for those sorts of lines, like in "Disney Time," when he sings, "Not in front of the children/ Fill their head with dreams/ And hope to be like Bambi's mother/ And die off-screen". Or in the already quoted "Fat Children", where Cocker closes, "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."

Between the satire and ranting lies a largely piano-based musical expression, finding Cocker moving between straightforward bar rock to alt-country, feeling unsettled all the while. But those compositional shifts are just a side stage to the main act of Cocker's wordsmithery, and it is therein that Jarvis receives both its reward and comeuppance.

Reviewed by Matt Conner
A contributing writer, Matt Conner lives in Anderson, Indiana.

See other reviews by Matt Conner

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