Record Exchange Boise

Handcream for a Generation
Artist: Cornershop
Format: CD
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With a blend of South Asian and British pop, Cornershop have exhibited the kindsof possibilities made possible by a global village. Their “Brimful of Asha”may be what caught your ear five years ago; the group’s fourth full-lengthis even more of a cross-cultural smorgasbord. One need look no further thanat a list of who makes guest appearances on Handcream: soul legend OtisClay (“Heavy Soup”), Oasis’ Noel Gallagher on the 14-minute “SpectralMornings” and co-production from the X-Ecutioners’ Rob Swift on “WogsWill Walk” and “Slip the Drummer One.” The track on which Gallagherplays guitar, “Spectral Mornings,” is nearly unlistenable; for thefirst five or so minutes, the vocal lines are chopped, spliced and diced asif the CD is skipping. After that point it’s an old-school psychedelicjam, complete with sitars—instruments that Cornershop have used throughouttheir career. The track is so far out that the band did a record-breaking 24-hourcontinuous remix of the song, live on the Internet. Indulgent? Yes, especiallywhen you consider that it’s not even the album-ender—there are threesongs, including a bonus track, that follow.

Still, there’s much to love about the excess, and the fact that the bandcontinues to march to a different tabla. They’re an alternative rock band,but only in the sense that they do what they want—whether it’s theclassic rock guitars, chorus of kid’s voices and leader Tjinder Singh’sdeadpan vocals on “Staging the Plaguing of the Raised Platforms” orthe organs and turntable-fueled “Wogs Will Walk.” There’s a playfulnessin the sonic fusion and bouncy pop that pervades Cornershop’s meof culture and sounds. That’s their strength.
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