Judy Sucks a Lemon for Breakfast

After a seven-year hiatus to spend time with their families, Tjinder Singh and Ben Ayres’ Cornershop return to our pop shores where they left off: continuing to embrace melody like they have the copyright on it. Judy Sucks A Lemon For Breakfast sees Cornershop’s sitars and woodwind trading with a quota of weighty samples to sound as idiosyncratic as ever. More to the point, it’s evidence that they continue to work to their own tirelessly independent agenda.

The record cracks off with the unexpected Stonesy riffage of ‘Who Fingered Rock’n’Roll’. There’s a 60s feel to the sitar, and soulful backing vocals coupled with joyful studio shouts on top of the mix immediately inform the listener they’re in for 45 minutes of wholesome vibes and good times.

Judy Sucks A Lemon is not only a celebration of how great pop can be (and has been over the last 40 years), but also a historical overview that sees Tjinder educating us with music that sounds fresh, even to overworked and tired ears. ‘Soul School’ celebratess the pop glories of Liverpool and Manchester, followed by title track which assures that Cornershop have lost none of verve and swagger that made them such a refreshing group in the moribund 90s.

In what might be a nod to purists (or just oldies), Side B begins with the strolling cool of ‘The Roll Off Characteristics (Of History In The Making)’, all brass and guitar fuzz mixed beautifully with Tjinders vocal and piano breaks. A potent brew of ska, dub and folk makes up ‘Operation Push’ which is followed by a cover of Dylan’s ‘The Mighty Quinn’. While it succeeds in righting the wrong of the awful Manfred Manns Earth Band version, it’s the album’s one weak spot, arguably pushing it away from its fun and postmodern kilter.

The album winds up, or rather down, with ‘The Turned On Truth (The Truth Is Turned On)’, all soul and laid-back gospel with swells of Hammond reminiscent of The Band. With the Cornershop stamp of sitars and bongos, this 16 minute end piece makes for an outstanding playout. As the gospel fades away, it’s clear that Cornershop are unafraid to preach, and truly want to teach. Given the vacuous and soiled wet blanket the pop stratosphere has become one should be only be two eager to listen to this record, a refreshing sign that Cornershop are very much still with us, and from what we can hear, will be for some time yet.

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