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CD Reviews:  Cornershop: Handcream for a Generation

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With song titles like "Wogs Will Walk" and "Lessons Learned from Rocky I to Rocky III," one might approach a band like Cornershop with a curious apprehension. In fact, there is very little about this London band, or its head creator Tjinder Singh, that is conventional. At times Cornershop seem hell bent on kicking out the DJ and filling a dance club with groovy organs and horns, layers of drum samples, and smacked up disco beats. But it's their more electric guitar rock moments that set them apart from the slew of similar London club bands. Ye dig?

Soul god Otis Clay lays the spoken word commentary over the opening "Heavy Soup," before the swift pop anthem "Staging the Plaguing of the Raised Platform" unfolds with a unique background chorus of children that harkens "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)". The aforementioned "Lessons Learned from Rocky I to Rocky III" works perfectly with its addictive Deep Purple guitar riffs, and provides the fan of vintage funk rock with Cornershop's slickest offering this side of 1997's Brimful of Asha. Unfortunately, it's the stagnant dance tracks and scattered reggae experiments, especially during the album's second half, that pull Handcream for a Generation apart at the seams. "Motion the 11" and the exhausting "Spectral Mornings" (even with guitar parts by Oasis's Noel Gallagher) accomplish little more than filling this project with empty calories.

All in all, there is probably just enough punch to this new Cornershop disc to make it worthy of a listen. While it's not likely to appear on many year-end "Best Of" lists, there is something about Singh's approach to experimentation and his insistence upon keeping things fresh that lend him enough credibility to succeed. 

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