Handcream for a Generation
label: Wiiija / Beggars
our score: 4.0 out of 5.0
the Dope Dope and The Dope Dope
There's a tendency
among music reviewers to refer to an album with danceable beats
and a carefree style as a "party album." I've never
been quite sure what to make of these claims; they seem to call
an album's artistic merit into question. Do they really have any
substance to them? Or are they just a mindless collection of so-called
for a Generation is an album begging to be called a "party
album" - maybe even the "party album of the year"
(whatever that means). The thing is, it isn't a party album. Instead
it's a soundtrack to a party. Or maybe a soundtrack to a show
- or something. Regardless, it's an unbelievably fun romp through
British rock with influences from just about every genre you can
On the previous
Cornershop work to date it was pretty easy to know what to expect:
a highly engaging helping of rock with a heavy dose of Indian
influence (ahem... sitar) all given the artsy once-over by leadman
Tjinder Singh. They'd pretty much always been "a band to
watch for" but it wasn't until When I Was Born for the
Seventh Time that the group received its first true accolades.
Now, five years and a breakup / make-up later, they've all but
abandoned the Indian influence and have put together an extremely
solid (if somewhat unexpected) album.
starts with not so much a song, but an introduction to the album
by none other than soul legend Otis Clay. It's as long as a song,
and it's got the structure of a song, but it's really a song about
the rest of the songs. Confused yet? Don't be - amazingly this
intro alone has enough soul and flair to put half the "party
albums" to shame.
Where the "music"
actually picks up is on track two: "Staging the Plaguing
of the Raised Platform." Now, I have no idea what the hell
that means, and I really don't care. All I know is it's a weird
take on 60's bubblegum rock with choruses of kids singing about
"making the dope dope and the dope dope." And keeping
the dope dope is just what's going on from here on out.
Plus 1," a house track that'd nearly put Fatboy Slim to shame
follows (and returns later, rasta-style, as "Motion the 11").
The album's most straightforward rocker and first single, "Lessons
Learned from Rocky I to Rocky III" continues the flow, featuring
bass work by none other than original Oasis bassist, Paul McGuigan.
And speaking of Oasis, leave it to Cornershop to employ the guitar
work of Noel Gallagher on the 14+ minute Indian-tinged instrumental
rock extravaganza "Spectral Mornings." (A bit of useless
trivia: Cornershop released a record-breaking 24-hour long mix
of this track on their site Februrary 12, 2002).
And what British
"party" disc would be complete without a disco-rock
spy freakout? Switch to track 9, "The London Radar"
and your'e there. It's messed up, but it's so tasty you'll need
to mop your drool from the floor before it's even halfway through.
It's the track Propellerheads have been trying to make
their entire career.
to the disc, and I could go on forever about the walking wogs
and people power, but in the end it's just words. Handcream
is an album far beyond words, it's something you just have to
experience. But be forewarned: if you can't handle an experience
that will set your head spinning and your booty shaking, steer
clear. After all, that's what this disc is really all about. Sure
it's intelligent, but in a discofunk-bubblegum-rasta-house sort
of way... if you get my drift.
liked Handcream for a Generation...
1. Heavy Soup
2. Staging the Plaguing of the Raised Platform
3. Music Plus 1
4. Lessons Learned From Rocky I to Rocky III
5. Wogs Will Walk
6. Motion the 11
7. People Power
8. Sounds Super Recordings
9. London Radar
10. Spectral Mornings
11. Slipthe Drummer One
12. Heavy Soup [Outro]
13. Bonus Track