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Jarvis Cocker: Further Complications (Rough Trade) 

The 1990s are over, which means it's now possible for something to sound "so '90s" (in which said appellation means dated, stale and unappetizingly familiar). Since I was never excited by the mid-'90s Britpop resurgence (spearheaded by bands like Oasis, Suede, Blur and, of course, Pulp), I feel no guilt about calling Jarvis Cocker out on his newest solo album, Further Complications, which is about as fresh and exciting as video footage of Courtney Love drunk in public.

The album's first single, "Angela," can serve as a case study for its inherent unimpressiveness. We've got the over-reliance on the one "zingy" guitar riff, the redundancy of the word "Angela" as lyrical content (alternately chanted, sexy-whispered and catcalled), limp backing vocals and some punctuating handclaps. It all sounds like a forgettable Urge Overkill B-side.

In fact, FC's "eclecticism" comes off as a VH1 I Love the '90s tour of the era's musical fads. "Leftovers" references the college-rock, Buffalo Tom thing. "I Never Said I Was Deep" wants to be funny but fails; it yearns to be anthemic, but Cocker's purposefully off-key warble is just vexing. "Fuckingsong" finds Cocker channeling Trent Reznor to a cheesy "metal" riff.

I've always been fond of Cocker's Michael Jackson-dissing, arts-programme-hosting offstage antics. He's likable, even when he's being a smug prick, and I go for that in a guy. Though my feelings for him are complicated by Further Complications, I'll probably give him another chance the next time around.

More by Sean Bottai

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