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Cornershop
Albums

  • Elvis Sex-Change,
  • Hold On it Hurts,
  • Woman's Gotta Have It,
  • When I Was Born For
  • The 7th Time,
  • Handcream For A Generation
  • Judy Sucks A Lemon
  • The Double O Groove Of








  • Adrian's Album Reviews |

    Cornershop

    Elvis Sex-Change 6 ( 1993 )
    Waterlogged / Moonshine / Kawasaki ( More Heat Than Chapati ) / Hanif Kareshi Scene / England's Dreaming / Trip Easy / Summer Fun In A Beat Up Datsun / Breaking Every Rule In The English Language

    Cornershop made headlines, verbally attacking former Smiths legend Morrissey and by being generally irritating and subversive. They emerged from the ashes of a band called General Havoc, releasing two EP's in 1993 - both of which are collected here. Led by Tjinder Singh and Ben Ayres they decided that they should be like a ramshackle, barely competent version of Jesus And The Mary Chain. With added Sitar! Thing is, emerging as they did during the brief Riot Grrl peak, their sound in terms of being lo-fi and amateurish did have some friendly bed-fellows. So to speak. The four songs from their debut 'In The Days Of Ford Cortina' EP are impossibly bad! 'Moonshine' and 'Waterlogged' are entertaining only for being very messy. 'Hanif Kareshi Scene' is something of a drone but I do remember the reason I bought their second EP. And, that reason is the supremely silly 'Kawasaki ( More Heat Than Chapati )' which if nothing else, is possibly the first recorded hint of Cornershops sense of fun and mischeif.

    The four songs from the 'Lock Stock And Double Barrel' release are better but only slightly. But then, Cornershops early records never really were about the level of competence or anything. We do have the frantic and actually pretty wonderful 'England's Dreaming'. Nobody sounds at all in tune, but its just so much damn fun! 'Fight! The powers that be!'. Indeed. 'Summer Fun In A Beat Up Datsun' works in a similar sense to the silly 'Kawasaki' from the first EP. The remaining two songs are very forgettable. Still, you wanted to know more about these boys. You still wanted more even though this record is almost completely a sorry mess! So, they must have had something.

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    Hold On It Hurts ( 1994 )
    Jason Donovan - Tessa Sanderson / Kalluri's Radio / Reader's Wives / Change / Inside Rani / Born Disco Died Heavy Metal / Counteraction / Where D'U Get Your Information / Tera Merra Pyar / You Always Said My Language Would Get Me Into Trouble

    Cornershop return! To absolutely no fan-fare whatsoever and the complete disinterest of a music press who had already largely dismissed them. They sound much the same as on their 'Elvis Sex-Change' debut but the engaging amateurishness of that set is replaced by an amateurishness that's slightly less engaging because for some reason, on a number of songs, they've decided to try to be a primitive heavy metal band in waiting. Opener 'Jason Donovan / Tessa Sanderson' suffers from this fate and is largely forgettable and not a good album opener. On the other hand, 'Kalluri's Radio' is incredibly entertainingly noisy, lo-fi indie, messy and fun. As if to ram home the schizophrenic nature of this, their full album debut, the following song has a funky hip-hop beat! 'Readers Wives' is pretty fun, actually - if terribly recorded. 'Change' is a brief punk thrash but well done as far as punk thrases go. 'Inside Rani' is the sound of crap drums mixed in with heavily distorted barely leglible and certainly not melodic, guitars. Even worse! The LP version here is sub-titled 'Long Version'. Heaven help us all.

    'Born Disco Died Heavy Metal' was the lead off single. It didn't chart of course and was hardly ever played on the radio. Ben Ayres has obviously learnt a little better how to actually play his guitar as opposed to the songs from 'Elvis Sex-Change' but the result is strangely serious and misplaced - given that he still can't actually play that well! This is very standard fare. 'Counteraction' which follows is pure Punjabi lyrics, sitar instrumentation and even further re-inforces this albums messed up nature. 'Counteraction' is actually fairly entertaining given that it sounds so completely unlike any kind of western commercial music. Well, of course it wouldn't - it fully reveals Tjinder Singh's Asian origins. 'Where D'U Get Your Information' sounds like Sonic Youth! It really does sound like early Sonic Youth! The closing song is a seven minute drone but interesting to hear and see them stretching out a little. It would be something they'd do even more sucessfully on their next album. As far as this album is concerned - its simply far too varied in terms of quality both stylistically and performance wise. There are a few entertaining high points, but nowhere near enough of them for this to be essential.

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    Womans Gotta Have It 8 ( 1995 )
    6am Jullander Shere / Hong Kong Book Of Kung Fu / Roof Rack / My Dancing Days Are Done / Call All Destroyer / Camp Orange / Wog / Jansimran King / Looking For A Way In / 7:20am Jullander Shere

    Here we have both the logical conclusion of Cornershop's early guitar style and a few pointers towards their future commercial breakthrough into the bargain. Hotcha! A large reason for this albums critical acclaim was the opening near seven minute '6am Jullander Shere' sung entirely in Punjabi and a sheer wonderous, hypnotic guitar delight. The drums ( or beats? ) suddenly are world beating, funky grooves and the whole thing is an impossible triumph, especially given the quality of their previous material. This song is also reprised to close the album in an longer, more funky and hip hop friendly version. But, thats not all this album has to offer. 'Hong Kong Book Of Kung Fu' is their finest punk pop masterpiece since 'Englands Dreaming' - and played much better into the bargain. 'Roof Rack' is actually quite lovely! Not a word you'd normally associate with Cornershop, certainly not at this stage. Tjinder does an excellent job on vocals here. 'My Dancing Days Are Done' introduces a level of experimentation with beats that would reach frution on their following album - although here, its very much an 'Indian/Asian' sound as opposed to the next albums hip hop based sound. To wrap up the first side we have another short, simple but hugely entertaining punk blast with 'Call All Destroyer'. Fantastic.

    The second half opens with an introduction of samples, hip hops beats and much experimentation amid a weird, alien sounding 'vocal' courtesy of 'Camp Orange'. 'Wog' is, of course' wrapped around an enticing melody, a poppy, singalong, commercial melody to further hammer home the songs message. Their most commercial moment yet, funnily enough, and a great song into the bargain. 'Jansimran King' is very reminiscent of their early EP's but with the amplifiers turned up to eleven to emphasise the groups new sense of confidence. The final two songs include the ten minute reprise of 'Jullander Shere' but also another lengthy, seven minute plus guitar workout with 'Looking For A Way In'. Everyone sounds so much better than before, the bass sounds fantastic and provides the main hook. Its a wonderful song, what can I say? A highly enjoyable album, and although held back by a lack of enough really special songs is certainly recommended to those who have only heard Cornershop as a post Britpop era pop singles act. It's good!

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    When I Was Born For The 7th Time ( 1997 )
    Sleep On The Left Side / Brimful Of Asha / Butter The Soul / Chocolat / We're In Yr Corner / Funky Days Are Back Again / What Is Happening? / When The Light Appears Boy / Coming Up / Good Shit / Good To Be On The Road Back Home Again / It's Indian Tobacco My Friend / Candyman / State Troopers / Norvegian Wood

    Cornershop go pop? Actually only on one song, 'Brimful Of Asha' which is a perfectly fine pop song that was ruined by a sped up dance re-mix for single release. Still, it got them into the charts. The album version is, needless to say, better - more 'Cornershop' too. Still, 'Sleep On The Left Side' is absolutely fantastic! Such a groove, lots of noises atmospherically adding to the groove in the background. As a song it's pretty much all groove and percussion. The lyrics are funny as well though. It's great, what can I say? This is an album that has been labelled and known for its diversity. The diversity seems to come purely from tracks like the pointless 'Butter The Soul' which is a short selection of hip-hop grooves but nothing else at all. Ultimately, it doesn't amount to anything. The likes of 'What Is Happening?' and 'When The Light Appears Boy' also fall pray to this. They aren't exactly songs. Now, that's fine. Plenty of records mix in tracks to add to the whole. Thing is, these don't. They just get irritating and have you reaching for the next proper song. Proper songs? Since when were Cornershop ever about 'proper' songs anyway? Just ignore me! 'When The Light Appears Boy' is truly bizarre actually and fairly entertaining. Very bizarre though and not for everyone. Certainly not for pop fans lured into buying this by the 'Brimful Of Asha' dance remixed single.

    Of the tracks that can only be labelled as songs rather than experimentation 'Funky Days Are Back Again' is wonderful with a jumpy groove and a fun vocal and lyric. 'Good To Be On The Road Back Home Again' even manages to be affecting in a tears in the eyes kind of way. A great, country tinged song, believe it or not. Guitars and grooves still present though of course. Oh, but of course! 'Good Shit' is indeed good shit and the punjabi version of 'Norwegian Wood' is a sheer delight. Really! But still, all of that still only adds up to about half of a great album. You still have the likes of 'It's Indian Tobacco My Friend' which is atmospheric I suppose but really just too lacking in substance and a repeat play factor. So many hip hop grooves on the instrumental tracks! Good hip-hop grooves mind you - but not backed up by anything else other than that. Instrumentals, after all. This really isn't such a great album to listen to from beginning to end. Some people bought it and were astonished that Cornershop could do such great dance and hip-hop influenced grooves. Others were astonished Cornershop had sold more than ten copies of an album! A lot of pop fans though were terribly disappointed by an ultimately inconsitent record that whilst containing some shining jewels also contains a few forgettable pieces of nothing as well.

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    Handcream For A Generation ( 2002 )
    Heavy Soup / Staging The Plaguing Of The Raised Platform / Music Plus 1 / Lessons Learned From Rocky I to Rocky III / Wogs Will Walk / Motion The 11 / People Power / Sounds Super Recordings / The London Radar / Spectral Mornings / Slip The Drummer One / Heavy Soup (Outro)

    Cornershop are back! Britpop has gone, 'Brimful Of Asha' has gone but Cornershop haven't gone no place. With the troubles in this world, September 11th, terrorism, infighting and war taking place across the world - what better than a light-hearted funky disco romp of an album to take the troubles off your mind? Lots of guest spots across the album as well. Few big names apart from Noel from Oasis on one song, but the contributions of these guest stars add considerably to the album. Take opener 'Heavy Soup'. Otis Clay provides the vocals atop a considerable funk groove that'll have you dancing, no question. The pop Cornershop of yore returns for 'Staging The Plauging'; Tjinder sounds great vocally and the lyrics are pure cornershop, the music all groove and guitars. A disco house beat is the highpoint of 'Music Plus 1', something that sounds nothing like your regular Cornershop music but still sounds like fun. It's done well too, this is music accomplished within its style. Good production - i'd hire em'! 'Lessons Learned...' is classic Cornershop, a funk groove, guitars, a pop melody, a hit single? Well, it deserves to be. 'Wogs Will Walk' continues with the funk disco groove, 'Motion The Eleven' purely delightful with its reggae vocalisms.

    'People Power' has been 'resuced' from a Cornershop Clinton side project. A great thumping bass groove, more disco, more good vocals. 'Sounds Super Recordings' is hilarious, like an Asian television advert. It all adds to this albums sense of fun, its playful nature. More highlights include the smooth dance grooves of 'The London Radar' and the fourteen minute long sitar workout of 'Spectral Mornings'. Slip The Drummer One' is suitably funky and the closing 'Heavy Soup ( Outro ) a nice instrumental reprise of the opening song to provide a sense of closure. This may not be a substantial album in terms of serious content, its not exactly a work of high art - its just been done so well.

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    Judy Sucks A Lemon For Breakfast ( 2009 )
    Who Fingered Rock 'n' Roll / Soul School / Half Brick / Judy Sucks a Lemon for Breakfast / Shut Southall Down / Free Love / The Roll Off Characteristics (Of History in the Making) / Operation Push / The Mighty Quinn / The Constant Springs / Chamchu / The Turned on Truth (The Truth Is Turned on)

    After a fair few years away, Cornershop return with their fifth album proper since releasing their debut LP way back in 1994. 'Judy Sucks A Lemon For Breakfast' is a strange album by Cornershop standards in that at least half of it sounds like a regular band, albeit a regular band with hints of sitar. The other half is satisfyingly experimental, albeit far cheaper sounding than the last couple of Cornershop LPs. I guess they didn't have such a large budget this time around. This album basically is a weird mix of the resigned (covers of The Kinks and Bob Dylan), the experimental (stuff we expect from the boys) and Rolling Stones type numbers with the first couple of tracks on the LP. 'Soul School' and 'Who Fingered Rock n Roll' are both magnificent actually, especially the latter, complete with marvellous lyrics, 'Let It Bleed' era backing vocals and even cowbell, just to top off the whole tasty package. 'Soul School' is a simple little chugging number but almost as catchy as 'Who Fingered' all told. On the otherhand, given Cornershop brilliant deconstruction of the likes of 'Norwegian Wood' in the past, their takes of 'The Mighty Quinn' by Dylan and 'Waterloo Sunset' by The Kinks are just straight run throughts - both sound like warm up demos rather than anything that should have seriously been entertained for a place of the final album.

    'The Roll Off Characteristics' was the first single and is indeed a fairly typical number for this LP. The cheap sound continues yet the arrangement is cleverly thought through, particularly when the piano pops up, hugely enriching the overall performance. 'Chamchu' is arguably the finest thing here for those that loved the ramshackle Cornershop of their first couple of LPs. Largely instrumental, plenty of funk, plenty of sitar - it's the kind of thing only Cornershop could make. What anybody is to make of the sixteen minute semi-soul funk of 'Turned On Truth' is anybodies guess, however.

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    The Double O Groove Of ( 2011 )
    United Provinces of India / Topknot / The 911 Curry / Natch / Double Decker Eyelashes / The Biro Pen / Supercomputed / Once There Was a Wintertime / Double Digit / Don't Shake It

    A marriage of funk and Punjabi courtesy of singer Bubbley Kaur. Now, Cornershop sell fewer and fewer records year in, year out. Yet, this type of collaboration is what they've been screaming out for, especially after their last record which was fairly unadventurous brit-indie-pop. The music is indian sitar plus heavy Cornershop helpings of funk. Bubbley Kaur sings in a language naturally I don't understand and at first 'having a bird' in Cornershop just seems plain wrong, much like it felt when Brix joined The Fall. She changes the whole feel of Cornershop just by being here and the music - almost back to 'Woman's Gotta Have It' crossed with, I don't know', their more adventurous funk and pop productions simply just works. Commercial appeal will no doubt be minimal - let's hope Cornershop get out their and tour. The opening 'United Provinces Of India' has heavy helpings of rap/hip-hop and funk and very clever production and arrangements musically with hypnotic, siren-like vocals. 'Don't Shake It' is up-tempo, contains acoustic English folk style guitars, more heavy beats and an indian female Punjabi take on Liz Fraser of Cocteau Twins. Well, in my fantasies and dreams, yet, we really don't want to go there, yet - this all sounds like a dream especially when the really funky bass lines flow in amongst everything else. Radiohead may feel their left-field and out-there but it's Cornershop that have really produced the proper funk, the proper British indie-feeling, a feeling thought lost and long forgotten when the likes of 'Elbow' are considering 'indie'.

    'The 911 Curry' flutters away Bollywood style but with heavy and loud 70s cop show interventions. 'Natch' has the vocals off in the background whilst the funk-groove of Cornershop dominates instrumentally, 'Double Decker Eyelashes' goes Sixties pyschedelic and Bubbley Kaur's vocals are sweet and lovely, a top track and album highlight. I do like it when Cornershop 'try' production wise. Nobody ever has blended British/American and Indian musical idioms as well as Cornershop do throughout this album and for that, they really do deserve immense amounts of credit that probably won't be very forthcoming. Damn that 'Brimful Of Asha' remix. Damn it to hades! Check out 'Supercomputed' - this is exactly what i'm talking about. Punjabi vocals, beats that veer from Run DMC to English eccentricity through to Indian sitar strikes and British indie production values. In short, it's utterly superb.

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    this page last updated 5/4/11


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