Thursday, February 23, 2006

MP3 Pulp Discography - Part Four: Freaks (1986)

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

Okay then! Back to my Pulp marathon. Sorry about the delay since the last part, very busy and girlfriend very ill so looking after her. This week it's time for Pulp's second full length, 1986's Freaks. Described on the sleeve as 'TEN STORIES ABOUT POWER, CLAUSTROPHOBIA, SUFFOCATION AND HOLDING HANDS', Freaks is very very different from the bands debut, obviously reflecting the completely new lineup. The sound of Freaks is a slightly more developed version of the one heard on the Little Girl and Dogs Are Everywhere EP's: postpunk/indie and slightly disco, not yet the classic Pulp sound but getting closer. The album was recorded in one week in June 1986 for £600, and was later disowned by the producer, who didn't want his name on it. It's not surprising considering the completely uncommercial, occasionally out of tune and often rather depressing nature of it all. Jarvis has stated that it's his least favourite of the bands records, but I have to say I find it quite enjoyable, and the highlights are genuinely great.

It begins with the rather awful Fairground, a Mr Bungle-esque carnival post-punk mess with vocals from Russell Senior. Not a great way to start the album really, especially when it contains one of the worst Pulp lyrics ever, in 'Won't you come with me to the fairground?/Your head/Will be spinning/I said your head/IS YOUR FEET!'. Now there's no need for that. Luckily from this point on things get immeasurably better, with I Want You being somewhat of an underrated classic. I posted the next track, Being Followed Home a while back, and it's also an undeniably great song, very very atmospheric and contains another great early Jarvis monologue, including: 'They've followed me home - the one with the dog-breath in the tattoo bar says something in a language that I don't understand. The street stinks of piss and dead fish.' Nice stuff, and the production is very moody. Next is the single, Masters Of The Universe, which is notorious for Jarvis's completely out of character semi-metal 'menacing' vocal. It was a very different direction for the band, and to my ears could be a possible Nine Inch Nails classic if they covered it. Just check out the lyrics: 'I am the master of this universe/And I've got so big it hurts/Raise your eyes and graze your knees/Oh for your master is displeased.' The Russell sung Anorexic Beauty is also a mess, both lyrically and musically. However everything else on the album is pretty darn good. There's No Emotion is a good early semi-ballad, and the second single, They Suffocate At Night is rather stunning. The three songs i've put up are Don't You Know, a great upbeat number with a few tasty guitar licks and signs pointing towards some of Jarvis's later great vocal performances, Life Must Be So Wonderful, a very very depressing and rather out of tune mess which somehow manages to be utterly heartbreaking despite the bad recording, and The Never-Ending Story, unfortunately not a cover of the movie theme, but a rather nice Velvet Undergroundish stomp with the line 'What's one corpse between friends?'. This would be the last Pulp release before the band started to sound like how we normally think of Pulp, as next time i'll be looking at the classic My Legendary Girlfriend single. Until then, more info on Freaks at Bar Italia.

Download: Don't You Know - MP3 2.85mb (rapidshare)
Download: Life Must Be So Wonderful - MP3 2.73mb (rapidshare)
Download: The Never-Ending Story - MP3 2.07mb (rapidshare)

Discography: (click to buy @

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


Ultimate Live


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