In 1993 I bought “Elvis Sex Change” by a band called Cornershop because I had read a report in the NME about them burning photographs of Morrissey in protest at whatever racist comment he had made that week. At that point I bought everything Morrissey released and I also bought anything, by anyone, who was linked, in any way, to him. This meant I once owned a copy of a single called “100,000 Morrissey’s” by a band called Mr Floppy.
Cornershop were unlike anything else I had heard at that point. They were rough around the edges, raw, furious, funny, sweet and intriguing. The “Elvis Sex-Change” E.P was a riot of noise and a glorious celebration of British Asian identity. I was living a middle of the road, white bread, middle-class life surrounded by other kids who looked just like me. People I knew, maybe even me, were still using the “p” word to describe, well, the corner shop. I didn’t have an Asian kid in my school until I was close to leaving.
Cornershop opened me up to a different way of seeing my own life and the lives of others. They brought, in a ramshackle, angry young man, way new words and sounds into my orbit. Then they appeared on a compilation tape that came with a magazine called “Lime Lizard” alongside bands like Gallon Drunk, Voodoo Queens, Mambo Taxi, Blood Sausage and some others and I was thrust into the sound of the underground.
Since then main man Tjinder Singh has continued to write songs that push boundaries, that say something and that introduce his audience to new things and old things…sometimes at the same time. He is, without doubt, one of the finest, and most important, songwriters to have emerged during the nineties in Britain. He doesn’t have the platinum discs that the likes of Noel Gallagher and Damon Albarn but he has a body of work that is the equal to (whisper it…better than) either of those or many of his other peers from the period.
Now the Shop are back with a new single ahead of a new album due for release in 2020. The fabulously titled “No Rock: Save In Roll” is a chunk of seventies glam rock presented with love and, mercifully, free from any hipster irony. It possesses that rarest of qualities in contemporary popular culture…authenticity. And heart. It also highlights, and not just in its title, the fact that rock, sans roll, is nothing to celebrate. It’s the movement, the shake, the pulse, the quiver of rock and roll that elevates it above the dull thump of rock, Noel-rock or any other sort of rock without roll. It is a reminder of how good Cornershop are and how important they are too.
Cornershop got you covered.