With solo artists formerly members of bands or groups, especially those that had left their cultural footprint on a generation, the issue of living up to the experience of past works will always linger. Paul Weller had it and came into his own. Roger Daltry experienced it time and time again. Jarvis Cocker is still chasing that high, so much so that he retreated back to group work with the seemingly ego-fuelled project Jarv Is. His name under one group, or roof, as House Music All Night Long would clamour for. Despite that, Cocker’s debut attempt at music with the simply titled The Jarvis Cocker Record shows off his indie range without dabbling in the culture wars, the drink and drugs of a past period or anything out of the ordinary.
Where it worked so well for the Pulp and Soulwax crossover, the latest efforts of turning Cocker’s lyrical waxings into clubhouse classics fails to spark much love for the remixification of modern sounds. Remix Ed would make a fine B-Side setlist, but in its current spectacle as a push forward of Hot Chip and Mister Deltoid workings, Remix Ed has been made for an uber-niche, hardcore group. Those that loved the work of Beyond the Pale, and further down from that, want to hear Alexis Taylor cover House Music All Night Long. It’s not a large audience, but it is an audience nonetheless.
As nearly 1000 people scream, applaud and shout at Jarvis Cocker, the gangly 90s icon, there is a sense of nostalgic comfort. Not just for the audience, but for the former Pulp frontman and new band, Jarv Is. He is back where he belongs, wailing around the stage like a rebellious Catherine wheel, crooning to the tunes of his glory days and pushing forward with new, exciting sounds. Despite its size, Boiler Shop at Newcastle provides a homely atmosphere for the 58-year-old’s latest tour, especially to those lucky enough to scrape and slither their way to the front. We aren’t here for the misshapes, mistakes and misfits. Cocker knows it. He shuts up and plays those bittersweet rarities the audience love to hear from the singers next generation of sound.
Live music may be temporarily dormant, our inability to leave our homes and shuffle into arenas or theatres to see the latest offerings of our beloved artists has led to adaptation. Fight or flight from the favourites of fans. Now that venues have been put in a state of horrid limbo, we look to the odd release here or there to get us through the drought, and no hit was bigger than missing the chance to see Jarvis Cocker live. Beyond the Pale loses its live opportunities, a blow to both the band and audiences. According to Cocker, the songs on the album were initially recorded live, so to see them in their true state is perhaps the best way to experience his latest work.
I’ve done the spiel all before, about how Jarvis Cocker is one of my personal idols and a true master of music. I’ve loved all his work, his post-Pulp material has been extremely rewarding and it’s needless to say that his work in the 90s Britpop group has left a lasting impression on me. Pre-ordering an album, let alone a vinyl, is something I have never previously done. I pre-ordered his latest album, Beyond the Pale, and then a day later it was pushed back to a September release. Heartbroken isn’t the word for it. No really, it isn’t, I was more just mildly disgruntled. But, as luck would have it, the album appeared on YouTube on Cocker’s channel.
When former Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker announced his latest musical endeavour, Jarv Is, I was somewhat sceptical. Friends and family are no stranger my ardent love for the work Cocker puts out on an impromptu level, from his glory days in Pulp to his magnificent solo career and collaborations with Chilly Gonzalez and Daniel Knox. He’s a musician that has done the rounds of just about every genre you can think of, and in an accomplished career spanning back ever since the late 1970s, it would be about now that any other artist would run out of fuel, the tank would read empty and the farewell tour would begin. But no, Cocker still has what it takes, and the proof is found within House Music All Night Long, the latest single from his upcoming album, Beyond the Pale.