Cornershop have dropped a double A-sided single. The songs are “Double Denim” and a cover of The Archies track “Sugar Sugar”. Along with the tunes there are a couple of pleasingly fresh, typically idiosyncratic videos. Both songs have ‘summer vibe’ written through the center.
Someone once described Cornershop as being “Cultural critique you can dance to.” Perhaps that’s true. Years ago, before playing gigs the band would burn images of Morrissey in protest of his right-leaning iconography. They also reclaimed the sitar from the collective unconscious of white privilege when they recorded “Norwegian Wood” on their breakout album, When I Was Born For the Seventh Time. The lyrical content of every Cornershop album points to an awareness of the unreported lives of minorities, and those unrepresented souls living a modern life. These are the issues that paradoxically rare and common-place.
Back in the future, Morrissey has faced more charges of not-so-muted right-wing-ism. These days he’s denying the accusations. And material from Cornershop’s breakout album remains in circulation – perennial favorites of remix artists and dance floor gurus. Yes, Cornershop offer cultural critique that you can dance to, but they’re also something more. Informed by deep cuts of culture, and the celebratory tones of surreal bubblegum pop, Cornershop have retained a purity of heart which remains essential in the current landscape. It’s that unique sense of self that’s shared with bliss on these two new tracks.
“Sugar Sugar” is about as fresh as a song can feel. Almost exactly true to the sound of the original from The Archies, Cornershop play with the virtual band identity. There’s a crispness to production that outweighs other covers of the track. At a time of bleakness and disparity Tjindar Singh delivers his vocals with an audible smile. Sometimes the best way to counter bullshit is to create something beautiful, and that feels like the intention here. If you watch the Phil Miller directed video and don’t feel compelled to emulate the moves, then maybe something in you is beyond repair.
On the flip-side of this is “Double Denim”. This track is an unadulterated celebration of fanbases everywhere. The dedication of music lovers who incorporate the styles of their favorite bands into street fashions is the focus. Of course, this is Cornershop, so there’s a retro-feel to the production, and it’s the custom cuts of blue denim that are modified to display affection. Bleeps, and tripped-up beats, the signature textures of the band pepper the tune. It’s a groove that’s undeniable as it is bright. Accompanying video, created by Ian Viggars, delivers a tone that captures the simplicity of classic Peanuts. Again, referencing The Archies, Cornershop are portrayed by virtual band ‘Heavy Duty’. There’s so much love conveyed with pins, badges, and spray paint, the love is deep and genuine, and utterly Cornershop.
Cornershop are currently in the studio working on a new album. They promise it’s sounding hot. They’ve never bullshit us before.
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PHOTOGRAPH BY ROGER SARGENT