To many music fans, Jarvis Cocker is one of the last bastions of that very singular northern English songwriting style. Combining a lyrical wit drier than a sandpapered house in central Sahara with dour vocals and an catchy soundtrack, Cocker's Pulp were the Britpop band of choice for people who found Oasis too rudimentary, and Blur too 'art school'.
Now that Pulp have been on hiatus for the past few years, though, fans of the Sheffield singer have relied on his solo material for their fix of amusing deprecation; 2006's 'Jarvis' provided it in abundant amounts. Its follow-up is something of a different proposition, however. With Steve Albini on production, it's no bombshell to discover that 'Further Complications' has something of a rawer vibe, and a large portion of these tracks have the primitive feel of live recordings - particularly the punky 'Fuckingsong' and 'Caucasian Blues', songs which unleash the rock beast within.
There's still room for some marvellous lyrical couplets like "Your life is just a carrier bag / Fill it and the straps will snap", however, and Albini's love of grime works well with the hip-shaking blues-rock of 'Angela', the echoey urgency of 'Pilchard' and the slinky, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds pop of 'Leftovers'. Undoubtedly, there are several missteps, too - whoever had the idea of sticking a cheesy sax solo in 'Homewrecker!' needs to be severely scolded, while closing track 'You're in My Eyes' sounds like something Serge Gainsbourg wrote while nursing the worst hangover of his life.
Nevertheless, it's a firmly pleasant way to spend 49 minutes, and it's something of an off-road excursion for Cocker - which, we suspect, is what he wanted us to think all along.