Anyone can tell you that history is written by the winners. So it is with Britpop; whilst a handful of scarred refugees have emerged again recently into the nostaliga touring circuit, only the brothers Gallagher have continued to make a living out of it.
Much is made of the influence of Blur’s Modern Life Is Rubbish and Suede’s eponymous debut album as the precursory strikes in what would ultimately become the brief if highly gratifying renaissance of the genre known as “Indie”, but Pulp are the second gunman on the grassy knoll to this theory. Jarvis Cocker had been around for so long by the time His ‘N’ Hers arrived that he was able to melt into the Camden-centric background like a gawky chameleon, but having finallly settled on a line up of similarly motivated musicians, the actual band he’d created in his own image finally pronounced themselves ready to claim their place amongst the new elite.
His ‘N’ Hers was their year zero, a cross between the lairy professor wit of their frontman and the retro chic of the anaglypta music which tickled and scolded. Anthems? got ’em in Lipgloss and Do You Remember The First Time? social commentary? there in the truculent opener Joyriders. Sex? everywhere mate, whether being thought about, had, or brooded over in the friend zone, Cocker’s waking moments were all about people getting their ends away in one form or another.
On it’s release Pulp were admittedly still in the margins – their coronation wouldn’t come until they stapled Common People to the foreheads of 50,000 ecstatic field dwellers at Glastonbury – but without them defining Britpop becomes a largely depressing study in machismo and wasted talent. His ‘N’ Hers remains unique, the work of a band on the cusp of greatness who are in the early stages of recognising it, about to ride the crest of a popular phenomenon from which they were always a cousin once removed.