Pulp - Separations

by Lawrence Poole Rating:7 Release Date:2012-02-13

Pulp will always, always have a special, nostalgic place in my heart - their rise to national prominence after stepping in for The Stone Roses at Glastonbury in 1995 coincided with my sixth form days, first proper girlfriend, live gigs and underage drinking a plenty. I first saw them pre-Glasto headlining the free (yep, free!) Heineken Festival in Leeds and it was a revelation. Yet despite being aware of Jarvis and co's myriad line-ups and the frontman turned 6Music DJ's long struggle to fame, I have never really dabbled in any of their music pre-His 'N' Hers.

This re-issue by Fire Records of their 1992 offering, Separations, is largely believed to be their best pre-fame release. Recorded after Jarvis departed the steel city of Sheffield for London in search of fun, frolics and kindred spirits, it is said to document the nocturnal antics he and quickly befriended bassist Steve Mackey got up to in the big smoke.

Blending pulsating synth rhythms, the hallmark of his home town in the 1980s, with Jarvis' unmistakable laconic delivery, it's certainly an intriguing mixture, hinting at both the mainstream, all-conquering pop appeal which would be achieved on Different Class and also the dark, shadowy undertones of its comedown successor, This is Hardcore. 'My Legendary Girlfriend' spits with melody and sarcastic asides, while 'Death II' sparks with spiky electro punches and 'She's Dead' captures the sort of beautiful melancholy his hero Scott Walker did so well.

Attending last year's reunion concert at Hyde Park was my musical highlight of 2011. Let's hope putting these reissues out motivates Pulp to head into the studio once more.

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