Review Summary: Pardon the pun, but... it's quite good.
It's 3:42 AM. I should get to sleep, but instead, I'm writing a review for an obscure mini-LP released in 1983 by what was at the time a young, inexperienced band from Sheffield that probably was, to most, on track to breaking up a few years later and being forgotten by the general public. Of course, that didn't happen, and the world's much better off for it. But before the glitz of "His n' Hers", before the incredibly witty, absolutely glorious and subversive "Different Class", and before the darker than black masterpiece "This is Hardcore", Pulp experimented with weird, wonderful sounds that were much different than what they carved them into later on. And while, say, "Freaks" isn't at all as flat-out impressive as "Different Class" quality-wise, their earlier records are essential to their story and definitely can stand up on their own.
Which brings us to "It", Pulp's first album released all the way back in 1983, with an entirely different lineup - save for Jarvis. And... if it wasn't for Jarvis Cocker's voice, you probably wouldn't even be able to identify it as a Pulp album at all. "It" sounds absolutely nothing like their later albums, with none of the sex and none of the ultra-pinpointed political insight that their later work would have in mind. Somehow, even without that, It comes off as a powerful album in its own right. Opener "My Lighthouse" is one of the best from the album, although it's quite jarring to listen to for the first time if you've only ever listened to 90's era Pulp. "Wishful Thinking" may not have seemed like much at the time, but the song holds a sliver of the first evidence we have of Jarvis' later hyper-obsession with sex in his lyrics, with lines such as "When I was with this girl last night, she held me tight; it turned me on."
"It" isn't perfect, however. "Boats and Trains" is a piece of self-contained filler, a song about... boats and trains, apparently. The only reason it seemed why they left the great "Looking for Life" off the album was probably because they needed a B-side for the "My Lighthouse" single. Jarvis' voice hasn't really developed yet, and the tunes aren't nailed down to the point of where they'd be even later in the decade; but oddly enough, this gives "It" a bit of charm it wouldn't have had if it weren't for those aspects. In addition, the album does have some really wonderful tracks; in particular the quiet but poignant "Blue Girls" (which is my personal favorite off the album), and the aforementioned "My Lighthouse". Although "It" is an album clearly from a young, more impressionable Pulp, those aspects in themselves make this album much more worth listening to. Everyone we listen to were all common people at one point in time.