A dif­fer­ent class

The odd­est band in Brit­pop is re­unit­ing. Great – it’s about time it was seen out­side the lad­dish con­straints of mid1990s cul­ture.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - MUSIC - By ALEX PETRIDIS

IT’S no re­flec­tion on the qual­ity of its back cat­a­logue to sug­gest there’s some­thing a lit­tle sur­pris­ing about the gen­eral re­joic­ing that seems to have greeted the re­cent news of Pulp’s re-for­ma­tion.

When the band an­nounced an in­def­i­nite hia­tus eight years ago, it didn’t ex­actly leave the world scream­ing for more. Its last stu­dio al­bum, 2001’s We Love Life, had demon­strated the band’s strengths to con­sid­er­able ef­fect and re­ceived rave re­views, but lasted only three weeks in the charts, 61 less than their big hit, 1995’s Dif­fer­ent Class.

The next year, a great­est hits al­bum fared even worse, reach­ing No.71 for one week be­fore van­ish­ing, prompt­ing Pulp’s lead singer, Jarvis Cocker, to com­pare it to “a silent fart”: “For all that wor­ry­ing and soul-search­ing,” he noted, “no­body was that ar­sed, ev­i­dently.”

It’s tempt­ing to sug­gest that the ap­par­ent resur­gence in pub­lic in­ter­est might be linked to Cocker’s award-win­ning Sun­day Ser­vice show on BBC 6 Mu­sic bur­nish­ing his na­tional-trea­sure sta­tus. But the truth prob­a­bly has some­thing to do not just with nostal­gia, but with the ben­e­fit of hind­sight, a de­sire to slightly re­write his­tory in their favour.

Eter­nally tagged as a Brit­pop band, Pulp was in­fin­itely more in­ter­est­ing than that ti­tle sug­gests.

The bale­ful shadow cast over sub­se­quent alt-rock by Oa­sis means the mid-1990s are re­mem­bered as the moment when in­die mu­sic dumbed down for com­mer­cial glory, los­ing sub­tlety and nu­ance in pur­suit of cre­at­ing the kind of records that en­cour­aged blokes to drunk­enly put their arms around each other and sing along.

But Pulp didn’t dumb down. Its out­put re­mained as de­fi­antly odd as it had been in the 1980s, when no one wanted to lis­ten, or in the years im­me­di­ately be­fore Brit­pop, when it re­leased a string of luridly bril­liant sin­gles pick­ing at English ob­ses­sions with sex and class:

Ring­mas­ter: Pulp’s lead singer, Jarvis Cocker, once pro­fessed he

couldn’t re­ally see the point in re­con­sti­tut­ing the group, but the fans were de­lighted when re­union

plans were con­firmed.

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