Pulp – His ‘n’ Hers Review

As forbidden the term “Britpop” has become, there are surprising links between the supposed big four of the genre. Producer Ed Buller, whose work on His ‘n’ Hers was preceded and followed by collaborations with fellow Britpop troupe Suede, understood, vaguely, what that sound could be. His ‘n’ Hers, for all its sexually charged lyrics and usual mannerisms and sly jabs from frontman Jarvis Cocker, is an explosive, relatively unique piece of new wave synthpop that Suede would lean into far more than Pulp ever would. That’s the Buller effect, whose only collaboration with Pulp marked a great success for a band whose album is a near-perfect run-through of iconic indie tracks and deeper cuts.

It’d be remiss to not mention the title track, despite it not appearing on the final cut of this post-Fire Records recording from Pulp. His ‘n’ Hers cries out against the everyday matching outfits of couples, the fear of the everyday boredom that seeps in through matching towels and James Dean posters. Despite the loveless nature of the meaning, it’s unsurprisingly sexy, charged by intimate vocals from Cocker, whose express wish for much of this album appears to be lamenting the curves and clashes that he experienced with glimmering moments of passion. Have You Seen Her Lately? is the obvious, wanton clamour for a lost love, while Do You Remember the First Time marks not just the best Pulp track of all, but an icy perception of open relationships and the free-feeling of the mid-1990s.

That theme flows through A-Side tracks She’s A Lady, a respectable number that still gets an outing every now and then from Cocker’s new group, Jarv Is. Where His ‘n’ Hers comes apart though is in its final two tracks. A slight dip in quality from Someone Like the Moon and David’s Last Summer, two tracks that, despite rounding off a hit-heavy album, pale compared to the B-Sides and demo cuts. Deep Fried in Kelvin and Seconds miss out on what are, essentially, lesser moments of lamentable summer tracks. His ‘n’ Hers does elicit some of those moments. Opening track Joyriders talks of reservoirs, joyriding and all of it feels as though it’d take place on one of those late nights in August, where the sun has set but the heat is still sticking around. Perhaps the most significant part of His ‘n’ Hers is its sense of place, usually found through a thick cut of synth, heavy drums and unique instrumentals.

There is nothing about His ‘n’ Hers or the production work of Buller that feels all that comparable to anything at the time. Suede was sharper with their cutting-edge lyricisms, while Pulp was sexier, licking their love wounds and taking stock of their experiences. Intro: The Gift Recordings rip Babies feels like a nice piece to slot into the B-Side for His ‘n’ Hers. A range like no other, from the squeals of Acrylic Afternoons to the consistency of pace and instrumental found on the final track David’s Last Summer, Pulp’s work here wasn’t a shade of what was to come, but it marks a remarkably strong blend of their early days of Europop indie feelings and the candid moments of lust and love that would work so well for their later tracks.

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