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Our critics' picks in new releases

OK, so maybe you got sick of hearing every rock critic in the country sing the praises of London's Cornershop a few years back. The undeniable fact is that the band's sophomore release, When I Was Born For The 7th Time, covered all the bases, strumming out three chord sing-alongs ("Brimful of Asha") and working out some impressive drummer/turntable duets, with a little sitar thrown in for good measure ("Coming Up"). And the critical gushing is just gonna get worse.

Tjinder Singh, frontman for the eclectic combo, wrote and produced all 13 tracks on Handcream For a Generation, and enlisted the help of an odd assortment of collaborators to add spice to the mix. Former Oasis bassist Paul "Guigsy" McGuigan sits in on the first single, the glam-influenced "Lessons Learned From Rocky I to Rocky III," while his old bandmate, Noel Gallagher, contributes his guitar to the 14-minute opus "Spectral Mornings." In fact, if you click on to the band's official Web site, (www.corner, you can hear a 24-hour remix of "Spectral Mornings." Those Gallaghers do love the sound of their own voices, don't they? X-ecutioner's turntablist Rob Swift adds some deft scratching and dope beats to "," while super soul singer Otis Clay offers up the album's table of contents on the opening track, "Heavy Soup." The sound ranges from house vibes peppered with fire-engine alarms to expansive choruses from a children's choir and on to straight-up disco gold. Bottom line: a nearly flawless album from a band that's cooler than anything stateside (yes, that includes The Strokes). Let the ass-kissing begin.

--zach hanner

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