Cornershop - Handcream For A Generation - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Cornershop - Handcream For A Generation

by Bob Coyne Rating: Release Date:2002-04-01

For the pessimists who thought 1998's "Brimful Of Asha" might have made Cornershop one-hit wonders, Handcream For A Generation acts as a dazzling Technicolor rejoinder. This fourth album by Tjinder Singh's group is a sure-footed survey of international party styles. Through 13 tracks, they manage to locate the secret connections between funk, hip-hop turntablism, boogie rock, roots reggae, French house, Punjabi folk, heavy psychedelia and, yes, good old-fashioned indie-pop.

On paper it looks dauntingly over-ambitious, and in the hands of any other band it probably would be. But Singh has a talent for finding universal accessibility at the heart of any genre, and a pathological fear of the clichéd and portentous. So Handcream begins with deep soul singer Otis Clay making the introductions on "Heavy Soup", cranks up a hoary old Stones riff for an extended rant about the music biz on "Lessons Learned From Rocky I To Rocky III" and even finds a use for Noel Gallagher on the 15-minute soaring raga of "Spectral Mornings". Best of all, the whole album's imbued with a spirit that's both celebratory and contrary, one that challenges and stimulates even while it's making you dance on the table. --John Mulvey

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