WHO ARE THEY? The veteran British indie-rock outfit formed and fronted nearly 30 years ago by singer-songwriter and guitarist Tjinder Singh. And the band that’s still best known for their 1997 chart-topper Brimful of Asha, featuring their trademark fusion of guitar-pop hooks, Indian instrumentation, and knobtwiddling electronica textures.
WHAT IS THIS? Their ninth studio full-length, their first album in five years — and moire importantly, their first new original solo recordings after more than a decade that saw them collaborating with various artists and even recording easy-listening versions of old songs.
WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? A welcome return. Though really, it’s as if they’ve never been away. Despite their absence, Singh and co. don’t seem to have lost a step — these hooky, gently grooving singles ignore contemporary pop trends in favour of their familiar musical melting pot (though there might be more free-flying flute here than I remember from the old days). Something that hasn’t changed: Lyrics that don’t shy away from the culture-clash realities of life in today’s England.
WHAT ARE THE MOST REVEALING LYRICS? “Everywhere that the wog army roam / Policemen follow them.”
WHAT SHOULD IT BE TITLED? When I Was Reborn for the 9th Time.
HOW SHOULD I LISTEN TO IT? While doing yoga, smoking hash, or both.
WHAT 10 WORDS SUM IT UP? Sunny, multicultural, strummy, thoughtful, dreamy, ambitious, immediate, layered, immersive, mellow.
WHAT ARE THE BEST SONGS? St. Marie Under Canon and One Uncareful Lady Owner might be some of the best songs Nick Lowe never wrote, while the Stonesy No Rock Save In Roll sounds like Primal Scream circa Rocks and Cash Money is seductively laid-back.
WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS SAY? ‘It’s always good when a band you forgot about comes back — and reminds you how good they were.’
HOW OFTEN WILL I LISTEN TO IT? Whenever you feel like something a little more exotic than the regular pop-rock menu.
IF THIS ALBUM WERE A FABRIC PATTERN, WHAT WOULD IT BE? Paisley.
SHOULD I BUY, STREAM OR STEAL IT? Stream it first to reintroduce yourself to their sound.