Joy is woefully underrepresented in today's popular music. Your average rock musician would rather admit to an unironic appreciation of Britney Spears than express something so unfettered -- so uncool! -- as pure pleasure. So thank God for Cornershop's Tjinder Singh.
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On stage, he might come off as your standard-issue, lemon-sucking artiste, but there's probably not another musician today whose albums take such vivid pleasure from creating (and listening to) music. Handcream for a Generation, Cornershop's first release in five years, is an oversaturated, Technicolor epic of an album. Launched out of the chute by the Stax/Volt elastic horns of "Heavy Soup" (with Otis Clay's declamatory vocal ticking off the album's songs and guests), Handcream careens merrily from genre to genre. The music bounces between children's choruses ("Praising the Staging of the Raised Platform") to distorted glam-rock guitars ("Lessons Learned From Rocky I to Rocky III") to psychedelic jams (the 15-minute "Some Spectral Mornings," with Noel Gallagher blissfully strumming among the sitars) connected only by a love of grooves.