Thursday, August 13, 2009

Obscure Music Spotlight: 'Judy Sucks a Lemon for Breakfast,' by Cornershop

'Who fingered rock'n'roll...?'

If you're under 20, you probably would recognize Cornershop as the band whose awesomely-smooth "Candyman" was backing Lebon James' baby-powder-smackin' Nike commercial. And even if you're over 20, you might only know the UK band from their moderately-popular '97 single, "Brimful of Asha."

But Judy Sucks a Lemon for Breakast is the perfect time to get to know 'em.

I can't help but think frontman Tjinder Singh had the 40th anniversary of the Woodstock festival (coming up, by the way) in mind while creating Judy. I hesitate to call it "bubble-gum pop,' but in the late-'60s sense of the word, that's kind of what it is: slightly-psychedlic day-glo folk-rock with a few Eastern twists.

"Who Fingered Rock'n'Roll?" kicks things off with a straight-ahead rock beat and a gospel chorus that would do Joe Cocker proud, accented by ringing sitar plucks.

"Soul School" adds a string section and rolls even more smoothly, despite a grungy guitar crunching underneath, and tracks like the organ-grinding "The Constant Springs" and the title track even add a mellow clarinet melody.

"Free Love" mixes in more of the Singh brothers' Indian roots, setting a traditional raga melody to syncopated drums and backward guitar, and if you're not in a '60s frame of mind yet, witness the wall of chorus that anchors their cover of Manfred Mann's "Quinn the Eskimo," the most straight-forward track on the album.

If you're looking for allegorical lyrics and deep meaning, seek ye elsewhere. The largely-nonsensical libretto is a jumping-off point for the excellent music.

A few interludes hearken back 1997's hip-hop-influenced When I Was Born for the 7th Time, but for the most part, this is a near-perfect summer folk-rock record with a few well-placed freaky twists.

Hear samples at their Myspace site, and then git it.

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