This chronological collection of gems from the Sheffield survivors’ Universal Island years 1994-2002 ignores Mis-shapes, but it does otherwise accurately represent a singles collection, and that’s what it’s meant to do.
From the opening riff of the classic Babies we are transported back in time to just before Jarvis and co went stratospheric with Common People, to a time when they were still emerging from nearly 15 years of the indie circuit.
It’s a good thing then that the first four tracks of the compilation act as a prelude to the bigger things that swept the band up and swept guitarist and violinist Russell Senior out. The Mercury-winning album Different Class provided the band with its golden period, and some would argue that it’s all been downhill from there.
This Is Hardcore was a “difficult” album, penned while the band adjusted to fame, and hits such as Party Hard and Help The Aged seemed somehow awkward.
Delightfully, though, recent album We Love Life, produced by Scott Walker, featured some gems and sounded like the band were more comfortable than ever with their image and their ability to produce wonders like Sunrise.
After parting company with label Universal Island, and with persistent rumours abound that Pulp are set to split up, we must hope for the twin sakes of music and memory that they won’t for some time yet.