[13] The Phantom Band, ‘The Howling’

We take these band names on trust, but Junior wants to know, “Are they ghosts?” “I don’t think so.” “They have no legs on the cover.” They must be then. She also notices howls subtly buried in the mix (not so subtle a motif, really) and “aaa-ooo”s along with them. An even smaller Shakira.

Krautrock’s rumble and pulse is all the rage, and Glasgow’s Phantom Band deliver it with a fair helping of swing, sounding like Nick Cave in a groove. The riff’s so compulsive it doesn’t need the song to make it a record of the year; it thrums and sashays with a style missing in the players themselves. Disappointingly, they’re a bunch of outré moustaches and beards in lumberjack shirts with not a ghoul in sight.

Hoooowling, hoooowling. Aaa-oo:

Jarvis Cocker, ‘Angela’

Jarvis Cocker

It’s pretty big of us to give space to Jarvis Cocker, what with the bearded beanpole ripping us off all over the place, but we’re pretty forgiving types. And come on, old Jarv is having a rough time of it right now – his marriage is kaput, the new album barely tickled the Top 20 and Pulp show no signs of “doing a Blur” and rebooting flagging finances.

Now I hate to fly in the face of the true wisdom of this place, but Junior reckoned ‘Angela’ was “lovely” and, well, she’s wrong, isn’t she? It’s surely a seedy account of a man suffering a mid-life crisis – and nothing autobiographical about it, of course – set to unlovely, galumphing rock. It sounds unfinished, although we might just allow it some raw, primal energy. Yeah, OK, it sounds unfinished.

Most of Further Complications bleeds that crisis, albeit with some zip and humour. It’s a more considered, Anglo take on Nick Cave’s Grinderman, with the same regular recourse to macho guitars – hiding that paunch with feedback. Jarvis could’ve done better with the melodies, but when Junior’s chanting “An-ge-la” long after the song’s finished, who am I to argue? Much.

A dry stick at the end of a branch: