Pulp, Separations (2012) [Remastered]

Douglas Wolk

By Douglas Wolk

on 04.04.12 in Reviews
Introducing a new sound

The third Pulp album, released after a bit of delay in 1992, brought on new bassist Steve Mackey, and its first half was their most rhythmically limber take yet on Jarvis Cocker’s aspirations to Scott Walker-style balladry with an arched eyebrow. Its second half, though, introduced a new sound for the band: In the years since Freaks, the acid house phenomenon had overtaken Britain, and all of a sudden Pulp, like seemingly every longstanding rock band in the country, was experimenting with the grooves and textures of dance music. Cocker, though, was as interested in undercutting the precision and relentlessness of club beats as in figuring out what they could do for his new songs, with their themes of mortality and frustration. Separations‘ highlight “My Legendary Girlfriend” is effectively an inside-out “Love to Love You Baby,” with Cocker gasping and panting across the beat in what sounds more like pain and disappointment than ecstasy. (The bonus tracks on the 2012 reissue are remixes of songs from the album.)