Jarvis Cocker's undergone some major changes since Pulp's ostensible breakup five years ago. He got married, moved to France, had a kid and briefly considered retiring from music altogether. So it makes sense that the songs on Jarvis, the debut album from the now-elder statesman of Britpop, would display a major shift in worldview. Like Elvis Costello's post-Attractions work, Jarvis is a somewhat muted, though musically varied, affair that's redeemed by Cocker's ever-sardonic eye. Pulp's edgy glam-rock is replaced with a broad range of approaches, some more effective than others. Highlights include the dark piano balladry of "I Will Kill Again"; the swooning, '60s pop-infused "Baby's Coming Back to Me"; and a bombastic, sample-driven repurposing of "Crimson and Clover" in "Black Magic." The terminally horny obsessions of Cocker's Pulp persona are also absent, by and large. This evolution is to be expected, though; the 43-year-old singer's newfound family life informs many of the tunes, sometimes directly ("You can tell your children that everything's gonna be just fine," he sings in "Disney Time"). In songs such as "From Auschwitz to Ipswitch" and "Quantum Theory," Cocker even ponders the future of humanity a far cry from the days of "sort[ing] for E's."
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