Pulp, Freaks (2012) [Remastered]

Douglas Wolk

By Douglas Wolk

on 04.04.12 in Reviews
He’s working on it

Two key members of Pulp’s classic lineup joined in time for this uneven but promising 1987 set: keyboardist Candida Doyle and guitarist/violin-scraper Russell Senior, both of whom gravitated toward unnerving, slow-creeping parts. (Senior also sings the two creepiest songs here, “Fairground” and “Anorexic Beauty.”) Jarvis Cocker hasn’t quite found his voice yet as a lyricist or singer, but he’s working on it, paraphrasing the Velvet Underground’s “Femme Fatale” as “I Want You” and working up to a frenetic minor-key polka on “Master of the Universe.” The one thing he’s worked out for sure is that he’s got a talent for cruelty that will serve him well later. The 2012 reissue’s extra disc adds two singles from that era, both of them also variants on the “Femme Fatale” template — “Little Girl (With Blue Eyes),” a bombastic portrait of a woman in a sex-and-money bind, and the slower-then-faster “Dogs Are Everywhere” — as well as a pile of B-sides, most notably the eight-minute, two-chord garage-rock piledriver “Tunnel.”