Universal – 2001 – 54 minutes

Although Pulp have proven long before now that they are survivors, it would appear that a lot more than usual hinges on this, their seventh album. After the muted reception that greeted the patchy 'This Is Hardcore' in 1998, Pulp have some lost ground to recover. Their strategy, or rather Jarvis Cocker's strategy, seems to be to transpose his quintessentially urban glare to more sylvan surroundings. This is Pulp in the countryside, but thankfully, the new environs haven't softened their humorously sarcastic sneer.

After clumsy opener 'Weeds', 'We Love Life' slides into top gear and, but for a few minor gear shifts in the middle, cruises along to provide what may well be Pulp's finest album to date. First single 'Trees', with its staccatoed, clipped string motif, captures Cocker's most relaxed vocal performance yet. 'The Night That Minnie Timperley Died' is a musically upbeat tale of murder, while 'Bob Lind' is Pulp at their breeziest, brightest best.

Throughout, Cocker proves that his legendary, lyrical sharpness remains unsullied. Whether it's sounding a note of caution ("It will not stop…until you admit that you're a fuck up like the rest of us" – 'Bob Lind') or dwelling on second rate mediocrity ("It's like a later Tom & Jerry when the two of them could talk/ like the Stones since the 80s/like the last days of South Fork" – 'Bad Cover Version'), Jarvis re-establishes his ascendancy in the British lyricists stakes.

It's easy to fathom that Cocker & co are being typically ironic with the album's title. Irony aside, 'We Love Life' should make us all love Pulp again.

Tom Grealis

Tracklisting: Weeds - Weeds II (the origin of the species) - The Night That Minnie Timperley Died - The Trees - Wickerman - I Love Life - The Birds In Your Garden - Bob Lind (the only way is down) - Bad Cover Version - Roadkill - Sunrise