Adrian Cooper has been unwell

Old reviews that are no longer available online, or from sites that no longer exist. The pen is dead, long live the camera.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

'Elvis Sex-Change'

Five years before you even knew that they existed, a group of lo-fi desperadoes came slouching out of Wolverhampton, bringing with them the 'In The Days Of The Ford Cortina' and 'Lock, Stock And Double-Barrel' EPs. Later re-issued as the 'Elvis Sex-Change' mini album, Cornershop's first two singles fused riot grrrl ethics with a mix of English and Punjabi lyrics, while lavishing abuse upon their sitars and guitars, promoting insurrection and eclecticism over such trivialities as musical aptitude or marketing strategies.

Led to London by producer and punk svengali John Robb, "the most inept band of their generation" thrust themselves into the attention of the music press by burning pictures of Morrissey outside his record company at the time of his ill-advised Finsbury Park antics. Name-checking the likes of Hanif Kureishi, Mahatma Ghandi and Huggy Bear (the band, not the pimp), quoting Jon Savage, and parodying racial stereotypes (the band name, song titles such as 'Summer Fun In A Beat Up Datsun'), 'Elvis Sex-Change' centres on the seditionary 'England's Dreaming'. From the opening Godzilla sample ("people, we finally have to fight, we don't want to, but the people of Earth leave us no choice"), to the blatant call-to-arms lyric ("shut up shop, get on the streets and fight the powers that be"), 'England's Dreaming' set out to get it's message heard, even if it was hidden beneath atonal guitars and feedback-riven white noise, a Jesus and Mary Chain for a pissed off generation fighting for a voice.

Despite being stuck in what Tjinder described as the "maggot stage" of their career, and lacking the genre jumping approach that they now employ, 'Elvis Sex-Change' added to the impetus for girl-boy revolutionaries across Britain, and is the blueprint from which Cornershop's "exotic moth" has finally hatched.