Release Date: Feb 2, 2015
Record label: Ample Play
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Easy Listening, Instrumental Pop
The 20th anniversary of a landmark album is something most bands take pains to celebrate, traditionally with some kind of reissue packed with rarities, reminiscences, and fanfare. Not Ben Ayres and Tjinder Singh, the reliably iconoclastic lads of Cornershop. Not only are they two years late in paying tribute to Hold on It Hurts, on 2015's Hold on It's Easy they reimagine their energetic blast of riot boy rock & roll as a swinging '60s big-band album, played with all the smarmy joy they and their crew of brass, winds, and percussion can conjure up.
The urge to reimagine your debut album as an instrumental, easy-listening affair with added swing is not perhaps one that strikes most bands, but Cornershop have always been something of a square peg. Their first album, Hold on It Hurts, was noisy and boisterous enough to take its place in the riot grrrl movement (despite the group’s all-male lineup); Hold On It’s Easy – which reworks every track from the 1993 original – is performed by Preston’s Elastic Big Band and would sound more at home as a 70s TV theme or, in the case of their woodwind and brass reworking of Change, Air’s Moon Safari. The original’s political side has naturally been dimmed, replaced with an impressive knack for revealing melodies you never knew existed beneath the feedback (Born Disco, Died Heavy Metal is a particular revelation).
Shortly after their excellent ragbag EP collection, Elvis Sex Change, Cornershop knuckled down to make a debut proper. The result was equally fabulous: one of the 90s’ best “independent with a small ‘i’” records, fusing love for a 70s Indian childhood, a lo-fi three-chord mentality and plenty of period oddness. This easy-listening version is perhaps the most bloody-minded thing they’ve done since, instrumentally interpreting the 11 tracks from Hold On It Hurts with horns, strings and a swing not present on the originals.