Tuesday, January 24, 2006

MP3: Pulp Discography - Part One: It (1983)

Other parts in this series: Two / Three / Four / Five / Six / Seven / Eight / Nine / Ten / Eleven

Today i'm starting a series of articles in which i'll be going through the Pulp discography to highlight some of the best parts of their career. I've always been a huge Pulp fan. Different Class was one of the first albums I ever bought when I was 13, and i've gone on to buy just about every Pulp release that its possible to find. I was luckily able to see them twice before they split, but they're definitely one of the live bands I most miss being able to see. A lot of Pulp's back catalogue has been neglected (most people start with His N Hers), and i'm guessing a lot of non-British folk still don't know much of the more famous stuff, so I thought it would be a good idea to go through the band's catalogue, highlighting some of the best bits.

I'll start with their 1983 debut, which in fact was not produced by the bands first line-up. When Pulp first formed in Sheffield in 1980, they were far more post-punk in sound than they ever would be again. This lineup (Jarvis Cocker, David Lockwood, Mark Swift and Peter Dalton) went on to record the band's first Peel session but otherwise didn't record anything that was released. By the time of It, that original lineup had split up due to going to university, and the new lineup featured Jarvis, Simon Hinkler (later of The Mission), David Hinkler, Wayne Furniss, Peter Boam, Gary Wilson and Saskia Cocker.

It was a mini-album (just eight songs) released on Sheffield's Red Rhino Records, and really doesn't sound a lot like the Pulp of later years. Jarvis singing voice is a lot more nasal and untrained (not that he trained it later), and the songwriting is a lot less focussed. Not really any urban smut in the lyrics, and as yet none of those idiosyncratic keyboards. The sound is far more Indie-Pop, especially on the super twee single My Lighthouse, which is one of the mp3s available below. Bit of a silly subject matter, but the chorus packs a nice punch. Jarv actually sounds very Morrissey-esque on some of the record, and it's odd to think that Hand In Glove came out on Rough Trade a month later. Although the jangly and sweet nature of most of it makes the album seem a little forgettable, there are two other highlights worth mentioning, both of which are also up for download. The first is Wishful Thinking, which has some absolutely lovely piano and guitar, uh, twinkling, which is just magic. The third song, and probably the first 'magical Pulp moment' of their career is the stunnnig Blue Girls. Those backing vocals are amazing, and somehow it confirms a rule that if you have chattering schoolkids in the intro to your song, it will automatically be great. Prove me wrong. Overall It is certainly different, and very much worth picking up if you're a big fan. The only down point I would say is that the three songs here really are the major standout tracks.

For more info on Pulp and It, see Wikipedia or this page at the excellent Bar Italia fansite. By the time of Pulp's next record, 1986's Freaks, Pulp would take on new members and start to become the band we all know and love, but would still sound, well, weird. However next time i'll be focussing on Pulp's post-It single Everybody's Problem. Until then, enjoy.

Download: My Lighthouse - MP3 2.81mb (rapidshare)
Download: Wishful Thinking - MP3 3.43mb (rapidshare)
Download: Blue Girls - MP3 4.75mb (rapidshare)

Discography: (click to buy @ amazon.co.uk)

It (1983)

Freaks (1986)

Separations (1992)

Intro (1993)

His 'N' Hers (1994)

Masters Of The Universe (1994)

Different Class (1995)

This Is Hardcore (1998)

We Love Life (2001)

Truth And Beauty (book)

Anthology (DVD)

Feeling Called Live / The Park Is Mine (DVD)


Anonymous craig said...

rather bizarrely, Stylus Magazine have devoted todays stypod piece to Pulp, focusing more on the"Freaks" album with a few tracks to download. band i always had a soft spot for, yet never completely fell for them.

12:52 pm, January 25, 2006  
Anonymous Theon Weber said...

I prefer "Blue Girls" to some of the slower stuff on "Different Class". Nice.

8:05 pm, January 25, 2006  
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