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Album Review: Beyond the Pale by JARV IS...

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JARV IS... is a British rock band formed by Jarvis Cocker. Jarvis Cocker is an English musician who has had a lengthy career. He first formed the band Pulp when he was 15, but they didn't gain fame until the 90s. He then took a break from the band to pursue a solo career in the mid-2000s. A few years ago, he decided to form another band titled JARV IS... Beyond the Pale marks the first studio album for the band. Despite it only being seven tracks, this album is packed with long, anthem-like tracks.

The first track from the album is Save the Whale. The track opens up with some quiet and simple drum beat, that sounds electronic in nature. Then Jarvis Cocker comes in with some spoken word/singing parts. Really, there isn't a lot going on throughout the track, you just have a few instruments that fade in and out throughout the track. You also have a female vocal chorus that repeats some of what Jarvis mentions. The track seems to hold some political messages hidden behind the lyrics, such as the world trapped in turmoil and our dependency on certain technological devices.

Must I Evolve? opens up with more of Jarvis Cocker's singing voice. It also features the female chorus in this call and response type opening. This is definitely one of my favorite tracks from the album. It starts out slow with just an acoustic guitar. As the track goes on, the tempo picks up around the two-minute mark and becomes more vivid. This track talks a lot about evolution and the timeline of existence itself. It starts out with the big bang theory, then talks about how things start to evolve and change over time.

Am I Missing Something? turns us back to a more electronic style track. While there are other instruments present, the electronic vibe definitely takes more of a turn about a quarter way through the song. This is also the longest track on the album, just under seven minutes in length. Through the last half of the track, you definitely get more of a rock induced vibe when the guitar takes the mainstage. Through most of the track, he heavily focuses on the issue and the words of "Am I missing something?"

House Music All Night Long definitely caught my attention with the blaring synths that are played throughout. The true pop feeling of the track really opens up after the first minute of the track, with different layers of electronic notes being played. While there could be several interpretations of the track, the one takeaway I'm getting is the boringness of staying quarantined. While he is staying inside and listening to dance music, he mentions having cabin fever, as well as being claustrophobic in his own house.

Sometimes I Am Pharoah opens up with a droning electronic string instrument. Something that could be described as the buzzing of a fly or some other insect. Jarvis also uses his strange spoken word voice on this track. I really enjoy the triplet movement from the synth that is continuously layered over. About halfway through, the darkness is lifted from the track, and a more dance-like vibe is introduced.

Swanky Modes definitely turns the tone down from the album with Jarvis Cocker's quiet and hushed singing. The bass and the sweet orchestral strings in the background are definitely the highlights on this track, instrumental wise. Just when you thought the drumkit was going to open up the track, it just added in a better consistent groove. Not quite sure, but the closing remarks of the track, "How about you get on this?" seems a bit suggestive to me.

The final track from the album is Children of the Echo, and it's about six and a half minutes in length. I was a bit concerned about why the track started out quiet, but it did eventually open up around the chorus. I guess the title of the track seems fitting with the chorus of women repeating the chorus after Jarvis. Towards the end of the track, it gets a bit strange with his spoken word bit. It almost seems like Jarvis is trying to hypnotize these people by having them repeat his words. However, it could reference large corporations and how they don't care about their workers or consumers.

Overall Rating: 8/10
Favorite Tracks: Must I Evolve?, Am I Missing Something?, House Music All Night Long, Sometimes I Am Pharoah

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