Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Cornershop Return

Ok...this review is going to be severely biased because I've loved Cornershop since I first discovered their "Wog," single somewhere back in the mid 90's. Since then, I've loved every record this band has ever done; even the stuff on Wiija. And if that weren't enough Born for the 7th Time will always be on my list of all time essential albums, so it's really no surprise that I found myself absolutely loving their new album. Judy Sucks A Lemon For Breakfastis a stunningly fantastic post-Britpop, Britpop record that's just about the most perfect record I've heard thus far this year.

Looking back, it's funny to think that Cornershop were one of the first indie bands to allow world music influence their songs. In fact, Cornershop did more then allow traditional Asian sounds to influence their music, they used it as a basis for much of their music. Tjinder Singh and co-hort Ben Ayers were writing songs based solely around sitars and tablas and giving them a modern Britpop spin on them as far back as 1993. While not really a Britpop band in the Oasis sense, they were definitely a reflection of there surroundings and as time progressed, the band's sound became more and more developed, flushed out, and solid. By 1997 they had written a masterpiece, Born for the 7th Time, and were lauded by everyone from Noel Gallagher to Fatboy Slim and won many album of year honors. From their the band started spin offs such as Clinton while continuing to develop Cornershop into a juggernaut of its own. Now thirteen years after their masterpiece, and seven years since their last album, Cornershop might just have written another epic with their new album, Judy Sucks A Lemon For Breakfast.

Judy Sucks A Lemon For Breakfast is an awesome amalgamation of pop, psychedelia, and world music influences that's so sugary sweet and so incredibly good that Tjinder and Ben may have outdone themselves. While a bit more poppy then past efforts, this record glistens with an international sheen that's nearly blinding. Grooves come at you from every angle, choruses follow you around like a lost puppy, sitars make their presence known, tablas keep the time, and by the time they get to the sixteen minute epic, "The Turned On Truth (The Truth Is Turned On)," they've won you over once again. While some might fault this record with being very similar to their past releases and capitalizing on their past successes it really isn't a problem for me.

Cornershop have always been excellent songwriters and their ability to blend decades worth of music, politics, and culture together into a pop song is truly outstanding. This is afterall how I first learned of Bollywood and Ashley Bhosle and if they can continue to bring those cross cultural references into pop music and educate us then more power to them. Impressive through and through, Judy Sucks A Lemon For Breakfast is easily one of the best albums of 2010. From the sitar laden jangle of, "Soul School," to the fantastic cover of, "The Mighty Quinn," and the never ending jam of "The Turned On Truth (The Truth Is Turned On)," Cornershop have proven that they've still got it and I'm glad.

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