Pulp
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It (1983), 5/10
Freaks (1986), 4/10
Separations , 6/10
His 'N' Hers, 6.5/10
Different Class, 6/10
This Is Hardcore, 6/10
We Love Life , 6/10
Relaxed Muscle: A Heavy Night With (2003), 5/10
Jarvis Cocker: Jarvis (2007) , 6/10
Jarvis Cocker: Further Complications (2009) , 5.5/10
Richard Hawley: Late Night Final (Setanta, 2001), 6/10
Richard Hawley: Lowedges (Setanta, 2003), 6.5/10
Richard Hawley: Coles Corner (Mute, 2005), 6.5/10
Richard Hawley: Lady's Bridge (Mute, 2007), 5/10
Richard Hawley: Truelove's Gutter (2009), 6/10
Richard Hawley: Standing at the Sky's Edge (2012), 5/10
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(Translation from the Italian by Monica Cainarca )

Pulp formed in Sheffield at the peak of the synthpop trend and for a few years attempted to rise above the fray with an obsolete glam-rock that nonetheless had its merit in the claustrophobic and angsty feeling it conveyed.

The Low Flying Aircraft single (Red Rhino, 1982), the It mini-album (Red Rhino, 1983), containing My Lighthouse, the album Freaks (Fire, 1986), containing They Suffocate at Night and Master of the Universe , and the following appalling singles Everybody's Problem, Little Girl and Dogs are Everywhere - later collected on Masters of the Universe (Fire, 1995) -, were disposable products for decadent discos, spineless compositions with anachronistic lyrics sung in Jarvis Cocker's out of fashion dandy style.

After a four-year hiatus the band released Separations (Fire, 1991), which included My Legendary Girlfriend and Countdown. This album was no better than the previous ones, but it came out at the right time and rekindled public interest for the group. All releases previous to this one were later to be collected in the anthology titled Countdown 1992-1983 (Velvet, 1996).

Cocker's fortunes took a definite turn for the better with the singles later re-released on Pulpintro (Island, 1993): O.U. (Gift records 1992), which also included Space, Babies (Gift records 1992), with the b-sides Styloroc and Sheffield Sex City , and Razzmatazz (Gift records 1993), featuring the b-side Inside Susan. With his cynical and elegant ability in blending together elements such as sexuality, glam, romanticism, electronica and dance grooves, Cocker invented a "kitsch" style which was very retro but also very personal. The erotic concept of His 'N' Hers (Island, 1994) limited itself to aggrandizing those elements, especially the melodic side (Lipgloss, Do You Remember The First Time) and symphonic character (She's a Lady, stealing its riff from I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor), finally fulfilling the band's dreams of glory. The melodies are twisted around sensual keyboards and carried by irresistible beats. The lyrics are steeped in the obsessions of teenage sexuality. Cocker indulged in psychoanalytic frescoes such as David's Last Summer (seven minutes).

Even bigger commercial success came with Different Class, (ISland, 1995), with its stand-out tracks Common People (their biggest hit) and Disco 2000 (a tribute of sorts to Umberto Tozzi's Gloria). The breezy Misshapes, the threatening I Spy, the seductive Underwear and the romantic Something Changed can perhaps better account for the band's longevity.

I Pulp si formarono a Sheffield all'epoca del boom del synthpop e tentarono per qualche anno di farsi largo nella mischia con un glam-rock antiquato che pero` aveva il merito di emanare claustrofobia e angoscia esistenziale.

Il singolo Low Flying Aircraft (Red Rhino, 1982), il mini-album It (Red Rhino, 1983), con My Lighthouse, l'album Freaks (Fire, 1986), con They Suffocate at Night e Master of the Universe, e gli altri atroci singoli Everybody's Problem, Little Girl e Dogs are Everywhere, poi raccolti su Masters of the Universe (Fire, 1995), sono prodotti di consumo (per quanto eleganti) per le discoteche decadenti, composizioni senza nerbo con testi anacronistici cantate dal registro dandy fuori moda di Jarvis Cocker.

Dopo uno iato di quattro anni dovuto all'instabilita` della formazione usci` Separations (Fire, 1991), con My Legendary Girlfriend e Countdown. L'album non era piu` originale dei precedenti, ma usciva al momento giusto (boom del Brit-pop) e riaccese l'interesse per il gruppo. La discografia fino a questo momento verra` antologizzata su Countdown 1992-1983 (Velvet, 1996).

Le sorti di Cocker cambiarono drasticamente con i singoli poi raccolti su Pulpintro (Island, 1993): O.U. (Gift records 1992), contenente anche Space, Babies (Gift records 1992), contenente anche Styloroc e Sheffield Sex City , e Razzmatazz (Gift records 1993), contenente anche Inside Susan. Rimescolando in maniera cinica ed elegante elementi quali eros, glam, romanticismo, elettronica e ritmi ballabili, Cocker inventava un "kitsch" molto retro` e finalmente personale. Le facce B dei singoli proponevano anche visioni piu` psichedeliche.

Il concept erotico His 'N' Hers (Island, 1994) non fece che esagerare quegli elementi, in particolare l'aspetto melodico (Lipgloss, Do You Remember The First Time) e quello sinfonico (She's a Lady, che ruba il ritornello a I Will Survive di Gloria Gaynor), e realizzo` finalmente i loro sogni di gloria. Le melodie si avvitano attorno a tastiere sensuali e si lasciano trascinare da un battito inarrestabile. Le liriche s'immergono nelle ossessioni della sessualita` adolescenziale. Cocker gigioneggia in squarci psicanalitici come David's Last Summer (sette minuti).

Meglio ancora fece Different Class, (ISland, 1995), sul quale troneggiano Common People (il loro massimo successo) e Disco 2000 (che ruba il riff alla Gloria di Tozzi). La briosa Misshapes, la minacciosa I Spy, la conturbante Underwear e la romantica Something Changed spiegano forse meglio la longevita` del gruppo.

Pulp's progression towards a mature form of expression led to the complex and sinister interior analysis of This Is Hardcore (Island, 1998). The album's introverted feeling, tormented lyrics and tortous melodies (see the lengthy and melodramatic This Is Hardcore) could point towards grand art, but the band continuously retreats into catchy ditties like Help The Aged and frigid disco-music like Party Hard. Lacking the courage to be the "auteur" he dreams of being, Cocker ends up with only a bunch of half-baked ideas like The Fear and Glory Days.

We Love Life (Island, 2002) boasts the same lush/sexy production of the previous two albums (with choir and orchestra), and hardly adds anything to the formula (Weeds, Minnie Temperley Died, The Birds In Your Garden).

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Monica Cainarca )

L'evoluzione dei Pulp verso una forma di espressione piu` matura ha prodotto la complessa e inquietante analisi interiore di This Is Hardcore (Island, 1998). L'atmosfera di introversione di questo album, i testi angosciati e le melodie sinuose (come nella prolissa e melodrammatica This Is Hardcore) potrebbero essere indicativi di una grandiosa capacita` artistica, se il gruppo non continuasse a rifugiarsi in canzoncine accattivanti come Help The Aged e frigida disco-music come Party Hard. A Cocker manca il coraggio di diventare il cantautore sofisticato che sogna di essere, e si ritrova con una manciata di idee non completamente riuscite come The Fear e Glory Days.

We Love Life (Island, 2002) vanta la stessa produzione sontuosa e sexy dei precedenti due album, ma il materiale e` molto piu` fiacco.

Pulp's guitarist Richard Hawley released the solo album Late Night Final (Setanta, 2001), a collection of carefully-crafted pop songs a` la Scott Walker (Love of My Life). It was followed by Lowedges (Setanta, 2003), with Run From Me, Coles Corner (Mute, 2005), a surgical strike at 1950s revival, and Lady's Bridge (Mute, 2007), its less inspired follow-up, despite Tonight the Streets Are Ours, Valentine and Serious.

Jarvis Cocker is also Relaxed Muscle, whose A Heavy Night With (Rough Trade, 2003) is a little confused and naive, but far more inventive than any Pulp album.

Jarvis Cocker's Jarvis (Rough Trade, 2007) sounds familiar because it is a parade of familiar refrains, arrangements and vocal impersonations, notably Scott Walker and Phil Spector. The best tunes (Don't Let Him Waste Your Time, written for Nancy Sinatra, I Will Kill Again, Black Magic, Baby's Coming Back To Me, Running the World) are a varied batch that spans at least 35 years of rock music, from Leonard Cohen to Joni Mitchell to Belle And Sebastian via bubblegum, hard-rock and synth-pop.

Cocker's second solo album Further Complications (Rough Trade, 2009) changed course, veering towards glam-infected hard-rock (Angela).

Dispensing with the lush and kitschy orchestration, Richard Hawley's Truelove's Gutter (2009) is a more honest work that even increases the sense of drama, making some songs sound like a prog-rock version of Roy Orbison, notably in the lengthy Remorse Code and Don't You Cry. His skills as a storyteller further increased on Standing at the Sky's Edge (2012), for example in The Wood Collier's Grave, but unfortunately the musical side of the equation was restrained to the point of making the album more similar to a collection of novellas than to a collection of actual songs.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Martino Valbusa)

Nel 2001 il chitarrista dei Pulp Richard Hawley pubblicò Late Night Final (Setanta), primo album solista di rifinito artigianato pop à la Scott Walker (Love of My Life). Seguirono Lowedges (Setanta, 2003) con Run From Me e l’attacco chirurgico al revival anni ’50 di Coles Corner (Mute, 2005). Meno ispirato Lady's Bridge (Mute, 2007), nonostante Tonight the Streets Are Ours, Valentine e Serious.  Tralasciando il kitsch delle sontuose parti orchestrali, l'album Truelove's Gutter (2009) fu più sincero e con un ancor più spiccato senso del dramma; lunghe tracce come Remorse Code e Don't You Cry sembrano una versione prog-rock di  Roy Orbison . Le doti narrative di Hawley migliorarono ulteriormente con Standing at the Sky's Edge (2012), ad esempio in The Wood Collier's Grave; purtroppo il lato musicale dell’equazione è così frenato da rendere l'album più simile a una raccolta di novelle che di canzoni vere e proprie.

Jarvis Cocker è anche Relaxed Muscle, il cui A Heavy Night With (Rough Trade, 2003), sebbene a tratti sfasato e ingenuo, è di gran lunga più originale di qualsiasi album dei Pulp.

Jarvis (Rough Trade, 2007), primo album solista di Cocker, suona tanto familiare quanto la sfilza di ritornelli, arrangiamenti ed interpretazioni vocali impiegati qua e là (Scott Walker e Phil Spector in primis). I pezzi migliori (Don't Let Him Waste Your Time scritta per Nancy Sinatra, I Will Kill Again, Black Magic, Baby's Coming Back To Me, Running the World) spaziano lungo almeno 35 anni di musica rock, da Leonard Cohen a Joni Mitchell a Belle And Sebastian passando per bubblegum, hard-rock e synth-pop.

Cambio di rotta per il successivo Further Complications (Rough Trade, 2009) con Cocker a virare verso l’hard-rock infettato dal glam (Angela).

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