Friday, June 10, 2005

I always question the worth of Cornershop's "Lessons Learned From Rocky I to Rocky III" whenever it's not playing. It's just Tjander Singh doing his CB radio shtick over a trad riff and some bongos, right? Why did I put it in my pazz'n'jop ballot back in '02? But when the tape rolls (I've got my fave tracks from Handcream on a c90 along with songs by Jason & The Scorchers, Thurston Moore and the Swell Maps) and I'm caught in the swirl (that's one GREAT trad riff and the bongos RULE), I can't believe how effective his employment of jargon is. Singh's laconic drawl acknowledges distance but never commits to any emotional reaction to the rawkout cultural insanity he witnesses. He's conveying not so much a commentary on the "overgrown super shit" but a simple acknowledgement of it. It's possible I'm missing nuance or he's just a bit of a cold fish, but I find this aloofness seductive and extremely listenable. Even on more openly expressive tracks like "Brimful of Asha" and "People Power" he keeps himself at slight remove, avoiding the earnestness others strive to express. I wish he'd drop a singer's album - all the full-lengths I've heard are riddled with uninvolving instrumentals and guest vocalists. His voice strikes me as his greatest gift.

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