Monday, 31 August 2009

Cornershop - When I Was Born For The 7th Time (1997)

Most people are going to remember Cornershop for the hit Brimful Of Asha, which remix by Fatboy Slim is not representative of what's on offer here. Whilst that song is present on the album it is in its "raw", unmixed format i.e. without the whistles and bells that Norman adds to bloody everything.
To go back to the beginning, this is Cornershop's 3rd album and was an enormous leap forward for the band. As recently as 2 years previously they were still hip young indie gunslingers, shooting at sacred cows like Morrissey. This album, however, was a revelation.
Kicking off with Sleep On The Left Side and Brimful Of Asha is a real statement of intent, hook laden tracks blending indie-dance with Indian influences and instrumentation, before hitting Butter The Soul where the band are straight into old-school hip hop, albeit with the requisite Bhangra twist.
That theme continues throughout the record with regular intervals of scratching and beatbox showdowns between the "proper" tracks.
We're In Yr Corner, track 5, is a pure Punjabi full-on sounddown (and awesome with it), before Funky Days Are Back Again brings a lo-fi synth presence to proceedings, followed shortly after by When The Light Appears, Boy, featuring legendary beat poet Allan Ginsburg reading from his own writing of the same name.
Good Shit is a return to the late 80s baggy sounding indie-dance, still with the hint of India, then Good To Be On The Road Back Home Again blends basic country with the band's Punjabi influences, tiger country, if you will. It's Indian Tobacco, My Friend is a pure ambient chillout.
The album concludes with Cornershop's version of Norwegian Wood sung, of course, in Punjabi.
This is a groundbreaking album for which Cornershop were deservedly lionised and I defy anyone not to like it.

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