Jarvis - Jarvis

Artistically, having Jarvis back could well be the highlight of the year.

Label: Rough Trade

Rating: 9

On a whole, modern day genius is a good thing. There’s a few of them around, if we dared to admit it. Damon Albarn has to be one, if we’d only admit it, and if we’re plundering one name from the halcyon days of Britpop, we may as well mention the other.

Jarvis Cocker is responsible for so many amazing songs, albums and 27 years of sheer brilliance, even while away from the public spotlight, there’s no other tag that really does the man justice. Even more remarkable than all his achievements, however, is the fact that it’s taken so long for him to release a solo album.

All it took was one vitriolic blast from an ‘is it or isn’t it him?’ Myspace account a few months back to blow away the cobwebs. The fact that ‘Running The World’ was (and is, appearing as a hidden track here) more than a little bit sweary was nothing more than a note between the lines; the news that one of the best writers of his, and any other, generation was back was far more important.

Backed by fellow ex-Pulp men Richard Hawley and Steve Mackey, it’s no surprise that touches of Cocker’s former band abound. ‘Jarvis’ stands up to them, though; darker than anything he’s made before, the quality shines through.

Opener ‘Don’t Let Him Waste Your Time’, packed with catchy hook lines,instantly dismisses fears of an inpenetrable lesson in artistry, while ‘Black Magic’ too sounds like an amazing pop song in waiting. ‘Baby’s Coming Back To Me’ turns into a hypnotic ballad, ‘I Will Kill Again’ goes from domestic bliss to disturbing in typical Jarvis fashion, and ‘Fat Children’ deals with the working classes in a way only he can. As returns go, it’s nothing less than triumphant.

Artistically, having Jarvis back could well be the highlight of the year. Whether the sales reflect that is another thing entirely - Pulp’s later day efforts didn’t shift that well, after all, but we doubt he really cares. Genius doesn’t bother with that kind of thing, after all.