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Album Review: The Double "O" Groove Of

Album Review: The Double "O" Groove Of

March 03, 2011

Cornershop return with Bubbley Kaur for their new album this spring.

Cornershop have continued to make interestingly fused, cheerful and occasionally offbeat music since their conception. With a back-catalogue going back to the early nineties – their sound has continued to evolve, ranging from melodic soft-rock, to the more up-beat. The band, comprising partly of Tjinder and Benedict hail from Preston, Lancashire – and though not the most obvious of NRI hot-spots – you can see how their local history has made a strong impression. Tjinder and Benedict collaborated with Bubbley Kaur, building on their mutual interest in Punjabi folk. After Tjinder and Bubbley’s repeat coincidental meetings, the project only felt organic in its timing. However, don’t be fooled by references to ‘folk’ – this is quite different to Yamla Jatt or Ranjit Kaur on ancient muffled cassettes. Instead, it’s a personal interpretation on the subject with Bubbley Kaur penning the lyrics against a very modern musical back-drop. I last remember the height of Cornershop’s fame at high school – when the world seemed like a very different place, my first memory of them was on the BBC’s Top of The Tops, with Brimful of Asha. Since then, the band has continued with releases throughout the naughties, most notably with Judy Sucks A Lemon For Breakfast, demonstrating their fortitude against the tumultuous music industry in the digital age. Their recent outing with Bubbley Kaur is Cornershop & The Double ‘O’ Groove Of through Ample Play Records, perhaps with the word ‘groove’ setting precedent for the overall tone; having said that, the album is novel and unique in its approach. Musically, there are many ways to draw positive references to this album. On one level, I felt as if I was listening to a Hotel Costes collection in one ear and traditional folk Punjabi vocals in another. The difference being that the vocals here are of course new and highly mastered. Bubbley Kaur sounds perfectly crisp and crunchy. The marriage between the two merges in a catchy pattern of melodies and vocals. On occasion, it reminded me of the eclectic layering of The Avalanches’ debut offering, Since I Left You. The videos accompanying United Provinces of India and Topknot have previously been released. Aesthetically the mise-en-scene in these videos musically mirrors the rest of the album: soft focus – moving in rack focus – beautiful all round – but with the odd detail coming to the forefront. United Provinces is described as offering ‘Full fat funk melds with the cream of Punjabi folk, asking the question, why has such naturalness never been done before’ and indeed – you do find yourself repeating this question. Though each track has an entirely different nuance, it’s the first half of the album that strikes me as its strongest offering, perhaps I say this as Natch is my favourite track and comes fourth on the track-listing. It’s the other half of the double ‘A’ sided Topknot. For me, it particularly stands out as its synchronicity between the vocal and musical tempo works beautifully. It also feels a little more effervescent, and dare I say it ‘poppy’ – this time not drawing on folk musical references to a tumbi. It oozes a chic – Nouvelle Vague quality. Having said that, track number seven, Supercomputed particularly came to my attention, only when I turned the volume right up. This is one of those tracks that, despite its many layers – which at first seem very busy – begins to lodge in your brain. Making you want to listen it to over and over again. Essentially, as listeners we crave an urge to master the music we listen to, when I first heard Beyonce’s Crazy in Love, musically I didn’t understand it all, but now it’s embedded itself as pop-music’s most noted songs. As such, I feel the same need to ‘master’ this track, and it’s therefore been played repeatedly. Overall, in terms of genre, the album is what you might call pop/rock with Punjabi vocals, as opposed to a Punjabi album by definition. It’s precisely because this album falls in the middle of the many Venn diagrams, which makes it difficult to pin-down until fully heard. Lyrically, it would also be a mistake to make straight-forward connective leaps between the words and the titles of the tracks. Still this makes for an inquisitive listening journey. If you do happen to understand Punjabi – then your experience will only be enhanced. You may on occasion drift into one world, while the music carries you to another. Ultimately, this album is light and refreshing. It’s mellow, melodic – yet throws up enough surprises to keep you engaged throughout. Perfect for a spring release. Cornershop & The Double ‘O’ Groove Of is released on March 14th by Ample Play Records. Dear NRI readers why not connect with us on the following social media platforms. Click here to join our Facebook Fan Page Click here to join our LinkedIn Group

1 Comment

  • ihassan khan
    ihassan khan
    10.03.11 04:54 PM
    this an outstanding

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