Hold on It Hurts

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Although Cornershop's first album rings with some of the fevered scrappiness prominent in U.S. indie bands of the early '90s (like Unrest), it's also a throwback to leftist post-punk groups of the late '70s (Gang of Four, Au Pairs). Spiking their songs with social commentary and balancing it out with an infectious sense of playfulness, the spirit and passion overrides the obvious amateurism that the band makes no attempt to hide. They're having fun, they have something to say, they love disco beats just as much as they love atonal shards of guitar and traditional Indian instrumentation. It all makes for a bold, exciting mix, even if it's sloppy and lacking direction every now and then. It also sounded little like anything else released at the time. The American version of the album, released in 1995 on Merge, adds the band's Lock, Stock and Double Barrel EP from 1993. "England's Dreaming," taking its name from Jon Savage's book on punk rock, is one of their strongest songs overall.

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