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UNEASY TIMES

Cornershop returned this summer with a new single. Tjinder Singh and Ben Ayres meet Jonathan Wright to look back on the band’s early years and ahead to a much-delayed new album in 2019

INTERVIEW

In every musical career that extends beyond a couple of records, there are times when it seems appropriate for a band to return. And maybe the summer of 2018, with its heat-haze shimmer overlaying a country uneasy with itself in the wake of the Brexit vote, represented just such a moment for Cornershop.

This, after all, is a band that first came to attention in the early 1990s during the dog days of the John Major administration, when Cornershop were one of few all-male bands allied to the radicalism of the Riot Grrrl movement. And it’s really not so far from feminist punk, arguments over Maastricht and Morrissey saying questionable things to #MeToo, Brexit and, well, Morrissey saying questionable things.

“I think politically we were writing about the politics of now then”, says frontman Tjinder Singh, Cornershop’s core member along with Ben Ayres.

That said, and for all that politics is so often to the fore in Singh’s conversation in particular, the standalone single Double Denim (You and me/ It’s all right/ Doubledenim nights”) was a gentle, blissed-out tune. On its flip was a cover of The Archies’ Sugar, Sugar – a “genius piece of bubblegum pop”, says Ayres. The accompanying video references Peanuts and Hanna-Barbera cartoons. It’s a single that comes across as a paean to the healing effects of music.

But there’s a kicker to Cornershop’s undoubted knack for turning out catchy singles, the danger of misinterpretation: “People say, ‘Oh it’s so upbeat’, even when it’s something like Sleep On The Left Side, which is actually about death. ‘It’s so upbeat’. ‘Oh good’.

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