Thursday, May 29, 2008

Refuse to be Blind

According to Jarvis, this is “just a blatant Joy Division rip-off.” “Blatant” may actually be too strong a word. There’s not much of Martin Hannett’s eerie use of space and echo here. Instead, the production is fairly busy, with relentlessly squiggling synths all over the track. As Jarvis explains in his liner notes, since their ‘81 Peel Session wound up being their first experience in a real studio, they were determined to make the most of it. So, while most bands used their time at the BBC to bang out quick, mostly live renditions, the nascent Pulp instead eagerly used their time to finally indulge in all sorts of engineering and arrangement whims. Most notably, there’s the vocoder-like processing effect on Jarvis’ voice as he sings the title at the end (causing the band’s one-time driver to exclaim “I am a fucking Dalek!”; sadly, that did not make it onto the recording).

The song itself is a good bit of energetic, doomy post-punk, but lacks any real distinction. The lyrics imply a lot, but they’re most enigmatic and feel incomplete.

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