Here’s an excerpt from the Jarvis Cocker feature that appears in Sentimentalist Magazine issue 24. For the full text, check out the back issue. Enjoy!

“The idea of it horrified me,” Jarvis Cocker admits of his first solo album, which, after more than two decades fronting Pulp, was something of a concern for fans patiently waiting for a new dispatch from one of the 90’s most engaging pop heroes.

But then what’s so easy to forget in the five years since Cocker’s quiet retreat from the spotlight is that he’s always kept one step ahead of our expectations. And so by addressing the fears of both himself and his fans on Jarvis, the astute spokesman of England’s middle class has returned with a record of renewed lyrical precision, filtered through some surprisingly vulnerable new layers.

“Being a music fan I’ve always thought of solo [albums] as very self indulgent, and that’s why I put it off for so long,” he explains. “I didn’t want it to sound just like a Pulp record, but at the same time it had to be a continuation. So it’s certainly barer, because I thought if it seemed more personal, then that would be the point in doing a solo record. And on a very basic level that’s why I called it Jarvis. Because it’s like, ‘Let’s be on first name terms.’”

That desire for a more intimate connection is reflected in large part by Cocker’s journey following Pulp’s elusive demise. Moving to Paris with his wife and son, it’s impossible not to hear the once headline-making crooner turned family man reaching out for the solace of an audience through the record’s thirteen tracks. And while the prospect of a domesticated Jarvis Cocker almost seems the antithesis of what we once loved about one of Britain’s most charismatic commentators, he still shows a deft hand at making the minutia of his daily life relatable to the mainstream.

“I did used to worry about it [affecting the music], but then most human beings do settle down a bit with one partner and have a kid,” Cocker analyzes. “So a lot of the record is about how to reconcile those feelings, which sometimes can be very destructive. I mean, if you went out as a forty year old trying to do the things that you did as a twenty year old you would cut a pretty pathetic figure. So you still have those same desires and drives, but it’s how you desperately try to handle them in a dignified way.”

Check out Sentimentalist’s review of Jarvis Cocker’s show at Webster Hall in April 2007 here.

–James Gregory, Photos by Tear-n Tan

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