Review: Cornershop – The Singhles Club
Published on January 10th, 2012 | Jonny Abrams
Cornershop’s Singhles Club offer of six songs for £6 is still up on their website, and Rocksucker heartily suggests that you take advantage (click here to do so). Here we take a look at the six tracks you’ll get for your small proportion of hard-earned, and introduce a couple of cracking artists signed to the band’s own Ample Play label…
1. “Non-Stop Radio”
A grinding electro cruise featuring the miel-amande speaking voice of one Celeste (presumably not this one), we are told to “attends un peu” while the track itself wastes no time in clearing the ring for a compelling tête-à-tête between a stabby, body-popping bassline and intermittent dollops of a buzzing yet harmonious synth sound which somehow manages to feel as if it’s being massaged into your ears by the palm of some benevolent hand. Clinton-esque (as in the erstwhile Cornershop side project, not the randy saxophonist, P-Funk pioneer or greeting cards retail chain).
2. “What Did the Hippie Have in His Bag?”
The kind of sunny, laid-back rock groove that Cornershop perfected on Judy Sucks a Lemon for Breakfast, “What Did the Hippie…” features grin-inducingly enthusiastic backing vocals from the children of Castle Hill Primary School, Bolton, reminding of infectious Handcream for a Generation number “Staging the Plaguing of the Raised Platform” (which, now we think about it, must have been quite the tongue-twister for the wee ones…it is for us, anyway.) Tjinder Singh’s commanding and endlessly listenable drawl lists off items such as “marmalade, jam, fresh out the can” and “bebop and German jazz” like some tripped-out Generation Game (although it sounds more like Sesame Street meets Soul Train), before trying to convince the kids that the hippie-in-question’s bag enables him to travel through time. “A dragon that was half-Welsh/Footsteps that went ‘squelch’”: if ever one line sealed a deal so resoundingly…
3. “Beacon Radio 303”
Following on from the psychedelic sunshine innocence of “What Did the Hippie…”, the ice-cold digi-funk of “Beacon Radio 303” could have been a rather jarring experience were it not for the sweetly dancing vocals of Indian singer Rajwant weaving figures of eight over the top of it. It’s tempting to liken it to one of the starker moments from Cornershop & the Double O Groove Of (one of Rocksucker’s Top Ten Albums O’2011)…er, so we will. Or, more accurately, we just did. In a sentence, “Beacon Radio 303” isn’t a Cornershop classic but it’s head-jerkingly diverting little ditty that serves as a pleasing reminder of this band’s total disregard for musical boundaries.
4. “Solid Gold”
A playful disco workout that could have slipped seamlessly into Handcream for a Generation, “Solid Gold” features one Katie (no surname supplied) on vocals and splatters lovely colours and textures all over the place, as if your ears were two small canvases and Cornershop were the rest of this slightly lame analogy. “So solid!” beams Katie, perhaps beckoning Asher D and his chums to the dance floor, while loopy synths chirrup along to the insistent house-y pulse like birds whipping up a tidy crossfire of mating calls. That this delightful little number comes accompanied by a picture of an aeroplane almost seems to align it with Handcream…’s “The London Radar”, but its exuberant charm has more in common with one of Judy Sucks a Lemon…’s disco interludes.
5. “Who’s Gonna Lite It Up”
Copy/pasting off press releases is just the kind of reviled journalistic practice we try to avoid on these pages, but sod it:
“Izzy Lindqwister and Tjinder Singh have been collaborating since mid 2010 on several tracks to come and ‘Who’s Gonna Lite It Up’ is one of them. This track is a remix of an original SSG track called “Fuzz Box”, to be released early 2012 with their EP Sugar, Salt & Glue. This stunning remix will be also available to the masses in early 2012 on Cornershop’s next LP.”
What what what? A new Cornershop LP in early 2012? We can but hope.
Anyway, Lindqwister – a Swedish, Paris-based songstress whom Singh mentioned in the same breath as the great Os Mutantes when we spoke to him last June – is shrouded here in a distant-sounding sort of echo effect and left to fend for herself against a stomping fuzz guitar riff and addictive flurries of tabla. This she manages with ease, as she does on this psychedelic interpretation of “Praise You” by Fatboy Slim, and we look forward to hearing more of her attitudinal throatiness (that may sound horrible but it’s meant to be complimentary) adorning Singh’s beats. Shades of Karen O, anyone?
6. “Concrete Concrete”
This could be a sort of reprise to Handcream… opener “Heavy Soup”, had Cornershop not already done so on that very album. Yes, this is funky; yes, this is feel-good; yes, this is propelled along on an early-days-of-hip-hop groove liable to get that head of yours jerking along to the beat again, perhaps accompanied by a pouty half-smile; yes, this is groovy. We’re not building up to a negative here; this is just the kind of tune that makes you want to say the word “yes” a few times. It’s also the kind of tune that Cornershop could by now knock off in their sleep, but that says more good about Cornershop than it does ill about the track. The momentum-generating beat and background crowd noises give it all an air of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)”, and it’s the kind of thing that would work equally well on the closing credits of a film or as something to dance round the kitchen to first thing in the morning while you wait for the kettle to boil. That is, if you happen to have woken up feeling FUNKY!
If you would like to wake up feeling FUNKY!, then shimmy on down to Cornershop’s website and download all these songs for just £6. And, if you haven’t already got them, buy all their albums too.
You may also notice that Cornershop’s online store is also selling copies of One Billion Year Record by Matsuki Ayumu and Focus In On The Looking Glass by The Paperhead. That is because these artists are both signed to Cornershop’s own Ample Play label, and they are both well worth checking out for those who like fuzzy, sun-kissed, psychedelic pop…
Matsuki Ayumu – “In June (Cornershop Mix)”
The Paperhead – “Do You Ever Think of Me?”