Album Reviews

Album Review: JARV IS... Beyond The Pale (Rough Trade/Rhythmethod)

Reuben Raj
House Music All Night Long (Extended All Night Gonz version ft. Chilly Gonzales & Naala)

Britpop survivor and art rocker, Jarvis Cocker has never strayed far from the public eye; his own radio show on BBC, sharing favourite bedtime stories during lockdown and of course, making music with a suite of different artists pre-COVID. Many moons after the fuzz-rock Further Complications (2009) LP and the artsy Room 29 (2017) with Canadian pianist Chilly Gonzales, Cocker returns with a new album Beyond The Pale by new band aptly called JARV IS...

But first, let’s go Save The Whale… but not with Nik Kershaw. 
While the world got technologically infatuated/I was busy getting saturated/I like it, dog/Movie on the yin and yang/you and me, the male and the female… Move, beyond the pale.
It’s a new ‘whale’ song by Cocker in a Cohen-esque spoken-word singing style… and yes the signature Cohen female backup singers are also present.

MUST I EVOLVE? happily shows that Cocker has not forgotten his Pulp glam-pop roots. An ace choice for a first single to get one ‘puffing’ and ‘panting’ for a rave. The 'next stage in human evolution' continues in Am I Missing Something and Cocker gets to frolic with the devil amidst soaring choruses and a hypnotic crescendo of sound.

Sod off claustrophobia, it’s time to listen to House Music All Night Long. Copulation remains very much tongue-in-cheek throughout the album. Because I should be disrobing you/Yeah, in a wood glen/ With the wood in your face/Everybody in the place.
The track brilliantly unfolds halfway with sweeping synths venturing in and out of sci-fi territory as the mind wrestles with ‘cabin fever in house nation’. Yes, it’s that ‘serious’.

Cocker’s penchant for jocular lyrics that tease and stroke one’s vices is shrouded in an industrial rumble and electronic buzz on Sometimes I Am Pharoah. Jump, he says! Swanky Modes makes it OK to resist the temptation for retail therapy and more. The dark mellow tones from a piano and a mournful violin set the mood for a sardonic tale. 

Children Of The Echo ends the 7-track album but not before one last dance with the all-seeing all-knowing entity who does not care one bit. 

Beyond The Pale shows the eccentric prince of art pop in his prime; unabashed, fearlessly gyrating in the face of c##ts worldwide. His wordplay remains deliciously facetious and wicked.

Cocker’s music has certainly evolved; trading his glam-rock guitars and crashing drums from Further Complications for a more electronic-based sound accompanied with harp and violin in Beyond The Pale.

The new JARV IS... album is available on 17 July 2020

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The JARV IS... collective includes Serafina Steer (harp, keyboards, vocals), Emma Smith (violin, guitar vocals), Andrew McKinney (bass, vocals), Jason Buckle (synthesiser & electronic treatments), Adam Betts (drums, percussion, vocals) and Cocker himself (vocals, guitar, percussion).

Click here to stream or buy
Released: 17 Jul 2020

Written By: Reuben Raj Reuben is a film and digital photographer who is driven by music in his head. Often seen lurking behind a camera inside the pit of a concert or wandering the streets of China with a blond, Reuben harbours intimate feelings for vinyl records and his Hasselblad SW/C from 1965. He is also the founder of Radio 13.