Since Pulp’s last album, We Love Life in 2001, band leader Jarvis Cocker has released four albums under various names. His latest as Jarv Is features tracks recorded at various gigs along with studio material. With no crowd noise, it is indecipherable to figure out which is live and which is not. In the Pale is another album indebted to Leonard Cohen but unlike last year’s Robert Forster release, Jarv Is shows that even in old age one can still get down, live in the shadows, and stay out all night.
Jarvis’ lyrics flash back to the old rave days on first single “Must I Evolve” before exclaiming, “I’m so glad we made it”. Those same ravers are recalled on the loungy “Swanky Modes” where “some still scoring cocaine/some laid up with back pain”. The chorus on “Children of the Echo” has a memorable vocal effect and opener “Save The Whale” gets expansive for a moment when Jarvis tells us to “mooove”. The album unfolds across 7 songs in 41 minutes. A mature album with several solid moments.