“I shrivel inside at the sight of her beauty
I fall to the floor as she’s shaking her booty.”
Oh, Jarvis, how I have missed you. This week, Pulp, the greatest thing to come out of the battlegrounds of Britpop’s war, officially released their first new song since their last album in 2001, We Love Life.
I couldn’t get home quick enough from work on Monday to download it. And yet even though I was very excited, and I hadn’t even heard a note of it, there was a part of me concerned in case I didn’t like it. This is always a worry I have with new material from artists whom I adore. Pulp and Jarvis were the absolute definition of my teenage years and they have never left me since. I will always regard Jarvis as the greatest musician of my generation and all these years later after first falling for Pulp in the summer of 1995, our love has never faded.
Incidentally, I heard a new Suede song very recently too. Suede, for me, while others in the mid-90s were too busy faffing around seeing who could scream “It’s fookin’ Manchester!” or “Nah, it’s fackin’ Essex!” the loudest in the daft Oasis vs. Blur arguments, were soundtracking the other part of my life that Pulp weren’t.
Suede recently offered for free a song from their first new album since 2002’s A New Morning (approach with caution if you have yet been spared it). Not actually a single, it was just a preview for fans before they release the official single, It Starts And Ends With You, in precedence of the album, Bloodsports, which is due mid-March.
Barriers takes Suede back to the sounds of the glorious Coming Up‘s B-sides; jangly, thunderous, full of their aching guitars and dark, haunting love as many of Suede’s songs are. And it honestly looks like they shot the video from the same era too if their look in the video is anything to go by. The uniform is still black of clothes and hair dye. They even have their classic graphic style on Bloodsports’ artwork – and speaking of the artwork, check out it if you can – it’s so Suede that it’s honestly like we’re still living the 1996 dream.
And I don’t mind all of this, anything to erase A New Morning and Head Music from the memory banks. They have gone back and rediscovered the soul they had in the mid-90s and brought it forward for a new generation to learn just how bloody good they were. And if Barriers is anything to go by, they may have just cracked it.
Back to Pulp. After You is a demo from the We Love Life sessions but was only recorded properly in November last year. Originally given away free in a Christmas card at their homecoming gig in Sheffield in December, demand for the song to go on general release was honoured and this week it was made available to download for those who hadn’t attended the concert.
After You pulsates through like red neon lights in areas where ladies of the night offer their services. Lyrically it’s just as filthy and quintessentially Jarvis. Tales of encounters with girls at parties in Hackney, it slithers over rolling drums and a dirty synth, the sounds of 1994’s Intro mixed with the-one-that-put-them-on-the-map Different Class’ demos. It’s incredible when I listen to After You, that just like Suede’s Barriers, they are not songs actually from the eras the two bands are taking us back to. You’d be forgiven for thinking they were.
Sadly, unlike Suede, at the time of writing Pulp have not confirmed if they are recording new material this year. Details remain to be seen. Fans can only hope After You proves successful and encourages Pulp to return to the studio, if anything to rescue us from the malignant cancer of the televised talent show music currently in the charts.
Suede and Pulp, it’s so good to have you back. Please don’t be away for so long again.
You can still download Suede’s Barriers for free by clicking here.
Pulp’s After You is available to purchase from here.