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"Do something new," sings Jarvis Cocker on "Am I Missing Something?," before adding, "Or do something else." The former Pulp frontman takes his own advice on Beyond the Pale, in a having-your-cake-and-eating-it-too kind of way. The "new" is a brand new band, JARV IS..., who he took on the road (and into some caves) to work out his first batch of new songs in a decade before recording them. The musicians, including harpist Serafina Steer and his Relaxed Muscle/All Seeing I collaborator Jason Buckle, took the songs in directions Jarvis hadn't imagined. For example: Steer and violinist Emma Smith provide response vocals on most songs that offer a second vantage point for Cocker's typically witty tales of love, death and the occasional badger. The process worked out so well, the bones of Beyond were recorded at those intimate 2018/2019 shows, then spiffed up in the studio. This is still the lanky, bespeckled Brit we remember but Beyond the Pale finds him especially energized and evolved for his best album since Pulp's This is Hardcore. Something else, indeed.
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