Pop review: Cornershop | Jazz Cafe, London

Jazz Cafe, London

Cornershop are back after a seven-year hiatus, and their lineup is looking decidedly different from the days when the remix of their song Brimful of Asha topped the charts, 11 years ago. "We haven't played for a long time and we're a bit ropey," frontman Tjinder Singh apologises. "We have lost a lot of people – some good ones, and some we were happy to lose."

He is right to warn the crowd. Tonight's gig is marked by awkward longueurs as the band confer and fiddle with their instruments. But their material remains strong. The decade-old hit Sleep On the Left Side still sounds endearingly lopsided, and Singh unveils a wordy semi-protest number, The Roll Off Characteristics (Of History in the Making), which arrives at a typically maverick philosophical conclusion: "War is just technical plip-plop."

Their new album, Judy Sucks a Lemon for Breakfast, draws heavily on the Rolling Stones, and Who Fingered Rock'n'Roll is just one of the tracks that delivers the Stones' swagger with a knowing diffidence. Soul School is a great rolling jam, impressively proficient for a band once notorious for their wilful amateurism. A funky mugging of Bob Dylan's The Mighty Quinn, and a Punjabi version of the Beatles' Norwegian Wood, confirm that Cornershop retain their idiosyncratic sense of fun.


Ian Gittins

The GuardianTramp

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