Appearing in today’s Tribnune is, in a departure from my usual column, a record review of the fab newbie from Cornershop. It’s an LP, as they used to be called before the dematerialisation of music caused by downloads.

Cornershop
Judy Sucks a Lemon For Breakfast (Ample Play)

Considering that Cornershop began their career as shouty low-fi punkish brats who came to national notoriety by burning pictures of Morrissey outside the EMI offices in the NME, they have – to paraphrase their sometime collaborator Norman Cook – come a long way baby.  Judy Sucks a Lemon For Breakfast is an assured clutch of songs with more hooks than a docker’s locker spanning an eclectic stylistic mix that virtually recalls the history of rock and roll. “Operation Push” exemplifies 50s/60s surf-pop and reggae in the same song. Reassuringly sitars and dholkis are still in there too eg on the sprightly single “The Roll Off Characteristics of History in the Making” which also features some deft brass and the genius line “War ain’t nothing but that technical plip-plop”.

Back when it all kicked off for the band in the early 90s the shadow of the Smiths (and the then-rumoured to be racist Morrissey) hung around planet indie. The resultant sounds forcibly equated with bedsit miserablism. Seventeen years into Cornershop’s career and this album couldn’t be further from all that. From the dayglo pink and orange sleeve depicting a stylised pair of lips and a bright yellow lemon onwards, this is an “up” record. “Who Fingered Rock and Roll” is a strong opener which rollicks along nicely setting the tone followed by the cheery “Soul School” with its singalong refrain “Manchester and Liverpool”.

The title track with its audiblle helicopter chopper blades and stop-and-start timing is also a winner but of the first six tracks that are listed in a touching homage to vinyl as “side A” it is the five and a half minute “Free Love” which is the real barnstormer with its fluid funk, angular drumming and Indian stylings all set to an electro groove-athon. Can’t work out what Tjinder is warbling on about but that was always part of the band’s charm.

Cornershop have always done things in their own idiosyncratic way and “Side B” includes a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Mighty Quinn”. It’s not my fave track probably because I always had “never trust a hippie” drilled into me mightily successfully but they do add their own original twist into the proceedings . Hell even the short interlude filler bits between proper tracks are masterpieces like the one and a half minute ode to Blair Peach “Shut Southall Down” or the funky 47 seconds that is “Half Brick”.

“Constant Springs” sounds like a spy theme and is another stand-out. The practically instrumental track “Chamcu” is the most “Indian” sounding and manages to lodge its way into your mind after a couple of plays. Things come to a close with the epic gospel-ish “The Turned On Truth”, a soul belter with what sounds like an all-female choir, clocking in at a timing in excess of 16.30 without you noticing.

The latest album from the band that were number one a decade ago with “Brimful of Asha” demonstrates that they’ve lost done of the wit, originality and warmth that propelled that track to the summit of the charts when such things mattered. Album of the year, any year. Go seek.

Available from http://www.cornershop.com

Let’s hope the bigwigs at the Labour Party conference where the present Tribune will be distributed take heed!

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