A glorious notice of where the Pulp story really begins.
Ian Wade 2012
Released in 1994, His ‘n’ Hers was Pulp’s breakthrough album some 16 years into their existence. It finally gave them a taste of success as well as introducing Jarvis Cocker to the general public, just as Britpop – Parklife was released the week after, and Oasis were readying their second single – came along as a then-refreshing shot-in the-arm.
From the opening Joyriders – “Oh you, you in the Jesus sandals, wouldn’t you like to come and see some vandals?” – it was clear the move to a major label had sharpened their sound and focus into a very appealing Alan Bennett / Roxy Music hybrid.
His ‘n’ Hers presented insights into the sort of behaviour that might land one on a register of some kind today: being inept with women, hiding in wardrobes watching your sister having sex, failing to turn your husband on, illicit affairs while the old man’s away. Such observations, such cheeky voyeurism, over cheering art-pop set Pulp aside, into a field of one, attracting a vast army of the misfits they’d eventually celebrate.
Singles included the trebly Lipgloss and the we’ve-all-done-it furtive fumblings of Do You Remember the First Time, beside a new mix of the majestic Babies.
But these weren’t the only highlights. There’s also the northern Gaynor disco sheen of She’s a Lady; the detailing of the tease and eventual boredom of fetish with Pink Glove; the throbbing narration of David’s Last Summer; and the bosom-shifting gossip detail of Have You Seen Her Lately?
Best of all, it was all served with an air-punching atmosphere of triumph, an almost celebratory feel. It seemed so far away from the mildly unsavoury fare that peers like Suede were offering.
Apparently it missed out on the 1994 Mercury (Music) Prize, to M People’s Elegant Slumming, by one vote. That didn’t matter in the grander scheme, as Pulp would soon go supernova – Common People and Different Class were just a year away. But His ‘n’ Hers remains a glorious notice of where the Pulp story really begins. A classic, basically.