‘I never said I was deep, but I am profoundly shallow,’ and so goes one of the many fine lines from Jarvis Branson Cocker on his shockingly well-humoured sophomore solo album. Beginning with a triumvirate of riff-heavy rock tunes – the title track, -Angela’ and -Pilchard’ – even those with a pretty well seasoned hatred of the former Pulp frontman would find it hard to dismiss his efforts.
Alright, he’s still singing about the odd checkout girl who’s 23, on minimum wage and is the object of someone’s affection but far from sounding old if this album had of dropped out of the sky from someone with zero baggage it’d most likely be lauded across broadsheets and blogs and become a fixture on the festival circuit this summer.
One huge strength of Further Complications is that the Sheffield native quite often lets the music do the talking when he feels it can. The aforementioned -Pilchard’ for instance features just a few yelps and the odd smattering of lines, simply because the spacey guitar line (which is kept chugging along by a uniformly excellent rhythm section which reaches its peak on the bass-led ballad oddity that is -Hold Still’) is too good to stop dead in its tracks with one of Cocker’s patented kitchen-sink dramas in three verses.
His voice sounds fresher than the latter years of Pulp anyway, and when it goes a little more downbeat – as on -Leftovers’ – he doesn’t force it (as he did on say, -This is Hardcore’), instead throwing in a little humour (‘I met her in the museum of palaeontology, and I make no bones about it’) to lift any temporary gloom. The Hives-esque -Homewrecker’ and -FuckingSong’ are other highlights; the gorgeous -Slush’ and Stones-clone -Caucasian Blues’ also impress.
It’ll divide opinions but despite the occasional bit of self indulgence such as the album finale – the eight-minute disco love song odyssey that is -You’re in My Eyes’ – Cocker has made a fine record overall.