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Mr. Cocker, by virtue of his prominent position as the face of Pulp, has become one of the enduring statesmen of the once remarkable Brit-Pop era. He’s right up there with Damon Albarn and Noel Gallagher, except that he’s always exuded much more of a genuine coolness than any of his contemporaries, debonair yet approachable, stylish beyond reproach yet somehow still part of the common people.
Given his pedigree, Cocker is going to turn some heads with his soon to be released Further Complications, a record that doesn’t shy away from turning up the guitars and rocking out. Especially diligent fans have no doubt seen this coming since Pulp disbanded; his work as Relaxed Muscle was a dead giveaway that Jarvis was embracing his inner guitar-throttler.
“Angela,” the first single from his new record, closes the Pulp/Relaxed Muscle link, retaining the pop conventions of the former and some of the more raucous qualities of the latter. Tunefulness ultimately wins out (look for it in the chorus harmonies, for instance), but the new found edge is undeniable. Despite the fake ending before the reprise, this song is a quick sprint where Cocker has previously preferred the half-marathon and the punchiness works. It’s hard not to start up “Angela” again as soon as its last beat has been thumped, the surefire sign of a winner.