What do you get when you put five crazy Indian people from England together who play various weird instruments? Why the wonderful band Cornershop of course. Cornershop is a very unique band. Theyre what you might describe as a creative pop fusion. They are popish, but they have a mind set that is very different from most musicians when making music. Theyre first and for most thing they try to do is entertain and they do it quite nicely. Cornershops music has all sorts of crazy and unique things that you wouldnt find in a normal cd. See, they take pop-rock and pop music and try to do something different to it and thats what makes them so special.
Cornershop formed in the early 90s in Leicester, England. Theyre first album Hold on it Hurts was released in 1994. Although in the next few years they released more albums, they did not achieve mainstream success until 1997s hit single Brimful of Asha from the album When I was Born for the 7th time. Since than, Cornershop had not had any other hit songs, but they still continued to release albums, including 2002s Handcream for a Generation. Handcream for a Generation is an excellent album. Its not too different from their other albums, but not too similar. It has a poppy feel to it, but is very different from pretty much all mainstream pop music. One thing thats great about the album is it large variety of songs. One minute youre listening to a rock tune, the next, something that sounds almost Rastafarian. Overall, this is no ordinary album.
The album begins with Heavy Soup which is really a groovy intro for the rest of the album. Its an instrumental song with a heavy bass line, full brass section and orchestra jamming while someone you might say introduces the band and the songs theyll be playing in a deep spoken voice that fits quiet well with the instruments. In general, Heavy Soup is a pretty cool song. Next Staging the Plagin of the Raised Platform starts up with some bells and a rocky rhythm guitar. Soon the drums, bass, and lead guitar join in and create what is distinctly a rock song. The clearly English vocals begin and sing strange lyrics that seem to make no or little sense at all. Then the wonderful pop-rock chorus arrives with kid backup singers singing, Staging the Plagin of the Raised Platform with some interesting, but fitting synthesizer. The song continues with a familiar chorus bridge chorus pattern and some great lead guitar making this one of my favorite songs on the album and with the catchy chorus and groove itll probably be yours too.
So far, Handcream will seem like a fairly normal album, but the next song Music Plus 1 will completely change that. Music Plus 1 sounds like a strange euro dance song. Its primarily a synthesizer and beat based track with strange muted vocals repeating the lines, Music Plus 1, Motion the Eleven, and Handcream for a Generation making this a strange and repetitive song. In a sudden change of style Lessons Learned from Rocky I to Rocky III begins with another rocky rhythm similar to Staging the Plagin of the Raised Platform. But the main difference between the two songs is that this one does not have as catchy vocals and chorus, but more entertaining lyrics with the ever funny line Miami Beach chicks with dicks and the repeated line the overgrown super ***. In general, Lessons Learned from Rocky I to Rocky III is a great rocky song that is quite entertaining and an album highlight.
Soon things change again with the funky organ and bass driven, Wogs will Walk. Its another interesting song, but the heavy unfitting Brittish accented vocals make this track seem bland and unimportant. Its another repetitive song, but its still unique. Now a more enjoyable and catchy song called Motion the Eleven begins. Its a slow ska-like track with a clearly Jamaican voice speaking and then singing passionately over the staccato guitar, bass playing, and unique synthesizer that all surprisingly fits together quite well. The song is repetitive, but the enthusiastic Rastafarian vocals keep this an entertaining track and one to remember.
As the album reaches its middle, People Power begins with a fast light guitar, a beeping noise, and then a funky bass line and vocals. Unlike Wogs will Walk, this track has great vocals that fit almost perfectly with the bass singing, People power in the disco hour reapetivily. This is, unfortunately, yet another repetitive song, but like Motion the Eleven the vocals and the fact that the song seems fairly short makes this still an entertaining, groovy song. After that, the unique bongo driven song, Sounds Super Recording begins with an Indian voice speaking with an echo effect. He seems to be announcing something first in English than repeating it in Hindu. The track ends quickly making this a strange and pretty pointless song.
Next the extremely groovy, funky, poppy, creative The London Radar starts. This is no ordinary song. Its two flight attendants speaking to all their passengers as they would at the beginning of an airplane flight over a funky bass and drum beat. You soon hear the pilots talking to the control tower and then the flight attendants talking to their passengers. This is quite a strange yet entertaining track that is very well done and honestly, hard to describe. It ends with a sound of the plane landing. After that, Spectral Mornings starts up with some weird noises and synthesize, but soon builds up with some bongos and rhythm guitar into a nice song. Soon the catchy vocals start in a foreign language (probably Hindu) and then the nice chorus comes in making this a pretty good poppy song with some nice guitar. The song sounds half Indian music half pop music. Unfortunately, the it gets repetitive and drags on going verse chorus verse chorus over and over again. Eventually, the vocals stop and the song seems to wind down as certain instruments fall out. Soon it appears to be reaching an end point, but it keeps going as several different instruments drop in and out for over 8 minutes after the vocals stop. Finally, the song fades out and stops. Its very repetitive clocking at over 14 minutes, but the instrumentation and groove make up for the extreme longness.
As the album moves on, Slip the Drummer One begins with a slow bass line and electronic vocals. The song moves on with the same experimental vocals for the whole 3 and a half minutes with little chang making this a pretty boring track. Next is Heavy Soup (Outro) which, you may be surprised to hear, is basically the same as the intro Heavy Soup. The only difference is theres no one introducing anything and its a different jam, but otherwise its very similar. Although the album seems to be over, another song named Bonus Track. begins. Its an instrumental song and quite nice with some experimental effects. The song is fairly short and soon ends.
And thats it. A very unique and strange album with a poppy sense to it compacted onto a single cd. Handcream for a Generation is quite an enjoyable and entertaining album with a happy feel to it that is always fun to listen to. So if youre sick of your Red Hot Chili Peppers and Led Zeppelin cds that youve heard over and over again, give this a try. It may not turn out to be your favorite album, but it shouldnt disappoint and is diffidently worth a shot. In conclusion, Handcream for a Generation, although (like everything) does have its flaws, is undeniably a unique album and will surely give your ears a taste of something new.
Some tracks are long
Staging the Plagin of the Raised Platform
Lessons Learned from Rocky I to Rocky III
Motion the Eleven
The London Radar
Please comment and enjoy
Flea is Godly