When I Was Born For The 7th Time
At the crossroads of noise rock and sitar serenity, armed with a bracing political agenda, Cornershop are hell-bent on being the UK’s first in-your-face Indians since Mohandas Gandhi. “We try to go with the dance beats, a jazzy feel, the Asian elements, the vocals and a few samples chopped in for good measure,” says vocalist Tjinder Singh. “What’s the fucking use of ripping off the Beatles without putting your own element in there?”
With When I Was Born For The 7th Time, their stunning new CD release on Luaka Bop/Warner Bros. Records, Cornershop raises the stakes higher with an album that finds them at the peak of their continent-spanning sound.
“Something for everyone: from country to brunch with hip-hop, cricket on the lawn with Punjabi folk music and a square-dance before dinner with the most righteous of beats.” That’s how Tjinder Singh describes the fifteen tracks on When I Was Born For The 7th Time, and it’s as good a way as any to describe the warm-hearted inclusiveness of the Cornershop sound. From the quixotic burst of harmonium that opens the album with the track “Sleep On The Left Side,” to the sly, stoned political insights offered on “Funky Days Are Here Again,” to the militant optimism of “Candyman,” it’s clear that Cornershop has pulled out all the stops in bringing the unlikeliest of influences into the grandest of harmonic convergences.
Of course, Cornershop has been something of a staple in the British cultural melting pot ever since the release of their back-to-back hit singles, “In The Days Of Ford Cortina” and “Lock, Stock And Double Barrel,” from the now classic Hold On It Hurts. The critical and popular response elicited by the band’s spicy mix of Punjabi pop and potpourri of Western pop styles prompted one British scribe from The London Times to crow, “Cornershop is a biblical-sized revelation,” and quickly brought them to the attention of Luaka Bop founder and world music champion David Byrne.
The resulting U.S. release of Woman’s Gotta Have It helped earn them a spot on the second stage at Lollapalooza and an SRO appearance at the prestigious Brooklyn Academy of Music. After criss-crossing the U.S. three times, on their own and in support of Porno For Pyros, Stereolab and Los Lobos, Cornershop barnstormed Europe as an opening act for Beck before returning to the studio to begin work on a new album.
When I Was Born For The 7th Time was given an auspicious preview with the UK release of the single “Butter The Soul,” in late 1996, and with Cornershop’s triumphal appearance at the Tribal Gathering music festival in spring 1997. These were followed by the release of a second single, “Brimful Of Asha,” notable for its homage to Indian movie songstress Asha Bhosle. Cornershop’s tour of festivals has continued with Roskilde in Copenhagen (June ’97), plus the Phoenix Festival (July ’97) and the Reading Festival (August ’97), both in England.
Other standout tracks on When I Was Born For The 7th Time include “When The Light Appears Boy,” with vocals by great American poet Allen Ginsberg; “Good Shit,” one of three tracks co-produced by ace San Francisco knob-spinner The Automator (of Dr. Octagon fame); “Candyman,” with a fluid, free-style rap by Bomb The Bass’ Justin Warfield; and “It’s Good To Be On The Road Back Home Again” with vocals by Paula Frazer of Tarnation.
It’s a tunestack that has already earned a four star-review in Rolling Stone, where writer Neva Chonin called When I Was Born For The 7th Time “a cohesive, finely crafted LP.” Its praise was matched by Erik Davis, who declared in Spin that our global village “needs more folksingers like Singh, whose good shit keeps you funky and whose scrambled words keep you on your toes.”
With When I Was Born For The 7th Time, Cornershop has concocted an impudent, inspired and feverishly original musical mélange, guaranteed to keep your head spinning long after the disc has stopped.
|1. Sleep on the Left Side
2. Brimful of Asha – (live)
3. Butter the Soul
5. We’re in Yr Corner
6. Funky Days Are Back Again
7. What Is Happening
8. When the Light Appears Boy
|9. Coming Up
10. Good Shit
11. Good to Be on the Road Back Home
12. It’s Indian Tobacco My Friend
14. State Troopers (Part 1)
15. Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) – (live)
September 05, 1997
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