Separations (album)


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Details

Credits

Tracklisting

  1. Love is Blind (5:45)
  2. Don't You Want Me Anymore? (3:52)
  3. She's Dead (5:09)
  4. Separations (4:45)
  5. Down By the River (3:39)
  6. Countdown (5:07)
  7. My Legendary Girlfriend (6:51)
  8. Death II (5:36)
  9. This House is Condemned (7:52)
    Total length: 48:41

Releases

Date

Label

Formats and catalogue numbers

Notes

19 June 1992

Fire

12" - FIRE 11026

Cassette - FIRE 22026

CD - FIRE 33026

Original UK release.

1992

Rosebud

CD - ROBCD9216

French release.

1995

Razor & Tie

CD - RE 2090-2

North American release.

29 April 2002

Fire

CD - SFIRE026CD

First UK reissue.

Includes a card slipcase.

13 February 2012

Fire

CD - FIRECD26E
12" - FV26E

2012 reissue & remaster.

New artwork and liner notes from music journalist Everett True.

Extra tracks:

  1. Death Goes To The Disco
  2. This House Is Condemned (Parrot and Winston remix)*
  3. Countdown (extended version)
  4. Death Comes To Town

* Incorrectly labelled as Is This House?. This is actually the other Parrot and Winston remix, usually referred to simply as This House Is Condemned (remix)

Jarvis' comments

From Volume Ten, June 1994:

At the time, I thought that unless we actually did a record the band wouldn't carry on, and seeing as we didn't have any other option, we did it with Fire. Steve and I had been going to lots of raves at the beginning of 1989, and so our brains were slightly scrambled. We were trying to use lots of technology but we didn't really know how to work it properly, and so it ended up being quite a strange album. It was a mixture of some old songs, rearranged quite radically in some senses to try and embrace modern technology, except we didn't know how to operate it, so it all came out sounding a bit weird. I think it's a very patchy album, but at least it's got My Legendary Girlfriend on it, which was a bit of a turning point for us. Separations is kind of the halfway point, I suppose, between what we used to be like and what we're like now.

Alan Smyth (producer) talking about the recording of Separations:

When the band came into record it they asked for a kind of Barry White meets the Pet Shop Boys sort of feel! I had a fantastic three weeks trying to do that, including a fair few right through the night sessions to finish on time. On half of the tracks I went for the more discoey machiney feel, and the other half I wanted more of the live bands emotion. Steve's right when he says that they didn't know much about MIDI stuff but neither did I at that time; however, armed to the teeth with manuals and instruction booklets I kind of muddled through. It was a great album to work on and I was honoured to be asked to do it. Jarvis is definitely one of the great songwriters and being able to input musical ideas to and produce such fantastic songs is sheer pleasure. I have many favourite moments from doing this album but recording some of the feedback noises on the beginning of My Legendary Girlfriend has to be one of the best, involving Jarvis swinging the microphone round and round until it flew off the end of the wire... Also I would dearly love to know how many copies Separations has sold. Does anyone know?

Reviews

NME, 18th July 1992:

The inexorable rise of Lion Pop continues apace with this, some product by Pulp, albeit one that pongs a bit of risky business and confidence trickery. "Brand new album ... following their recent 'OU' single ... recorded a year ago" boasts the press release, desperate to sprinkle lavender over a corpse. The Pulp Group are long gone from Fire, currently negotiating a (possibly) major deal, and are not especially interested in you hearing a three-year-old LP that their old financiers failed to release at the time.

Which is not to say don't buy it forthwith. If the generic term Lion Pop has you lost as yet, listen in. Lion Pop is all about flamboyance, unself-conscious foppery, grand gestures and absurd colour co-ordination. It is Sheffield's Pulp, falling about like an amateur dramatics society putting on Jacques Brel's existential musical adaptation of Run For Your Wife! 'Separations' is a nine-ring synthesiser circus. Bring on the frowns.

'My Legendary Girlfriend' you know about. Dragging Side Two into a film noir intrigue web via Clock DVA's 'Four Hours' and much locomotive East-Euro gloom, it is a CLASSIC, all overstatement intended. This, however, is the album's darkest hour, its companion pieces much jauntier, although not without irony. 'Love Is Blind' conveys no less heavy-hearted anxiety, but chooses to do so as a cabaret stomper. 'Death II' demonstrates how Erasure ought to sound (instead of pissy and elephantine). Jarvis Cocker lends the voice of a suicidal supper club crooner (both sung and spoken) to these twisted, ambitious little nuggets of neurosis, and they heave and swoon like a drama queen's chest.

So then, enter the Lion, kids. Gesticulate a little. Wear something other than 100 per cent cotton. Be legendary. But snaffle up this record merely as an hors d'oeuvre served on a dishonest plate. (7)

Andrew Collins

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NME, 8th August 1992:

The NME team's pick of the month's best LPs

Jarvis Cocker lends the voice of a suicidal supper club crooner to these twisted, ambitious little nuggets of neurosis, and they heave and swoon like a drama queen's chest. 'Separations' is a nine-ring synthesiser circus. Bring on the frowns.

(View as image)

Q, July 1992:

A man who favours stripy tank tops and bank clerk pants, with a past penchant for singing on stage in a wheelchair, Pulp's Jarvis Cocker should be approached with caution. Their third, much delayed album is a cornucopia of strangeness, starting with their gawky, gangly mutation of cabaret-in-pop manoeuvres, from Barry White to Bobby Goldsboro (She's Dead is a dead ringer for Honey) to Scott Walker (Cocker is a similar balladeer), but convincingly lush melodies are on their side. Pulp can play it relatively straight, with syrupy strings, but they're liable to inject some electro-pop seediness or playschool Acid House FX. If Separations sounds like an exercise in cheesy camp, Pulp successfully transcend kitsch by way of Cocker's emotive pitch, where confessions of doomed, lovesick dalliances (Don't You Want Me Anymore) bypass black humour for pathos. ✰✰

Martin Aston

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Vox, July 1992:

Is this the year that melodrama makes a significant return to the pop charts? After Shakespear's Sister's Sunset Boulevardy 'Goodbye Cruel World' and 'Stay' singles, and Marc Almond's revision of 'The Days Of Pearly Spencer', perhaps the doors will soon open for Pulp's overwrought tragedies.

Fittingly, Fire have a separation of their own with which to contend. Like The Farm, Pulp have left the label at the crucial point of crossover, delivered the (I) 'O.U. (Gone, Gone)' on Gift Records and disassociated themselves with this release. Which is a shame, for apart from the limitations of attempting the grandiose on a Business Enterprise budget, Jarvis Cocker's collection of kitsch-en sink dramas is an enjoyable and suitably short-lived affair. The band provide a thrift-store synthesised opera while the broken but undaunted Cocker delivers weepies that Bobby Goldsboro would die for. (7)

Shaun Phillips

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