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Saint Etienne


Country of origin:

England

Type of music generally:

Indie, ectronic pop

Status:

Most recent release, Words and Music (2012)

See also:

Saint Etienne's site

A very informative Saint Etienne discography site

Comparisons:

Air, Cardigans, Birdie

Covers/own material:

Own, occasional cover

General comments:

understated pop, you could almost call it easy listening. Great for a mellow night or in the background while working. (kjetilho@ifi.uio.no)

I wouldn't call them "bubble gum" or overly happy. While Saint Etienne have a number of songs which are very upbeat, I would hesitate to call their music perky or cheery. (stuart@sph.emory.edu)

Recommended first album:

Good Humor or So Tough (kjetilho@ifi.uio.no)

Recordings include:

  • Foxbase Alpha (1991; re-released in 2-CD deluxe edition, 2009)
  • Avenue EP (1992)
  • So Tough (1993; re-issued in 2-CD deluxe edition, 2009)
  • You're in a Bad Way EP (1993)
  • I Was Born on Christmas Day EP (1993)
  • You Need a Mess of Help to Stand Alone (compilation, 1993)
  • Tiger Bay (1994; re-released in 2-CD deluxe edition, 2010)
  • Fairytales from Saint Etienne (compilation, 1995)
  • Too Young to Die (singles 1990–1995 compilation, 1995)
  • Casino Classics (compilation, 1996)
  • Continental (compilation, 1997; re-released in 2-CD deluxe edition, 2009)
  • Good Humor (1998; re-released in 2-CD deluxe edition, 2010)
  • The Misadventures of Saint Etienne (1999)
  • Places to Visit EP (1999)
  • Sound of Water (2000; re-released in 2-CD deluxe edition, 2009)
  • Interlude (compilation, 2001)
  • Smash the System (compilation, 2001)
  • Finisterre (2002; re-released in 2-CD deluxe edition, 2010)
  • Travel Edition 1990–2005 (compilation, 2004)
  • Tales from Turnpike House (2005; re-released in 2-CD deluxe edition, 2010)
  • London Conversations: The Best of Saint Etienne (compilation, 2008)
  • A Glimpse of Stocking (limited-edition seasonal, 2010)
  • Words and Music (2012)

Good Humor

Release info:

1998—Creation—225

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Sarah Cracknell—vocals, cowbell
Bob Stanley—synthesizer
Pete Wiggs—synthesizer

Guest artists:

Sven Andersson—saxophone
Debsey—vocals, backing vocals
Tore Johansson—bass, harmonica, klangspiel, string arrangements
Gerard Johnson—piano, keyboards, vibraphone
Rasmus Kihlberg—drums
Mats Larsson—piano
Petter Lidgard—trumpet
Jens Lindgard—trombone
Jens Lindgren—trombone
Jez Williams—guitar

Produced by:

Ian Catt, Tore Johansson, Gerard Johnson

Comments:

Good Humor is in my top 10 of this year. (stuart@sph.emory.edu)

A little British, Euro-pop, Burt Bacharach, Cardigansish mojo working fun. (nnadel@hotmail.com)


Sound of Water

Release info:

2000—Mantra Records—MNTCD1018/Sub Pop Records— SPCD509

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Sarah Cracknell
Bob Stanley
Pete Wiggs

Guest artists:

Gerard Johnson, Ronald Lippok, Sean O'Hagan, Stefan Schneider— Kwai piano, Wurlitzer, Jomox drum machine, Akai MPC 3000, Moog Sonic Six, Waldorf microwave, Siel Cruise, accordion, vibes, guitars, drums, electric bass
Charlotte Hodson, Mitch Stevens—backing vocals
Nathan Bennett—voice
Stuart Reid—percussion (2)
Jez Williams—guitar
David Lawes—recorders
John Miller—drums (4)
Edgar Jones—upright and electric bass
Shoichi Kajino—gooseskin outburst

Produced by:

Saint Etienne; Gerard Johnson, co-producer

Comments:

More mellow, almost atmospheric like AIR. not as pop/catchy, but quite nice. (iflin@speakeasy.net)

On the surface this reminds me of the best of the Carpenters, and those dreamy soundtracks from '70s After School specials. It's very placid, with Sarah Cracknell's very white vocals reminiscent of Karen's voice in spirit if not in sound. Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs' songs are classic AM fare, simple, uncomplicated and bright. Period flute solos and harpsichords creep into the mix. However, underneath the retro-trappings and lemony rhythms, there's something more substantial at work. Modern technology, in the form of burbles and burps, percolates and creates concentric circles in the pond of memory. The lyrics are tableaux, snapshots of life from that seemingly idyllic time. Both "Downey, CA" and "How We Used to Live," exemplify this, examining middle-class life in brief character sketches against frothy lounge backdrops. Both "Heart Failed (In the Back of a Taxi)" and "Boy is Crying" hint at but never dip completely into slightly more complicated situations. Cracknell's flat reading of this material makes her more a narrator than a participant.
     Sound of Water is a song-cycle about memory, how we filter the past and what lies below the bright surfaces. It's framed by two very Air-like, lovely instrumentals. (ethereal_lad@livejournal.com)


Interlude

Release info:

2001—Sub Pop Records—SP536/Beggars Banquet—STET-CA-001 Canada

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Produced by:

Saint Etienne; additional production on "Boy Is Crying (single mix)" by Lee Mullin and Mike Truman and on "Lose That Girl (Trouser Enthusiast Mix)" by Trouser Enthusiasts

Comments:

Saint Etienne, in case anyone cares, just released Interlude—B sides, new tracks, remixes. I like it a lot. "Queen of Polythene" is on my new "summer" mix. (Marla Tiara)

Tales from Turnpike House

Release info:

2005—Savoy Jazz—SVY 17580

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Sarah Cracknell—vocals
Bob Stanley
Pete Wiggs

Guest artists:

Ian Catt
Tony Rivers
Anthony Rivers
John Chandler
Jo Fraser
Hugh McDowell
Brian Higgins
Tim Powell
Nick Coler
Eve Bicker
Shawn Lee

Produced by:

Ian Catt and Saint Etienne; Xenomania and Saint Etienne (6, 11)

Comments:

Ranges in style from laidback lounge to upbeat dance. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Further info:

Saint Etienne released the video collections Too Young to Die (1995), Smash the System (2001), and Finisterre (2005).

Saint Etienne curated two compilation albums, Songs for Mario's Café (2004) and Saint Etienne Present Songs for the Dog and Duck (2009).

Paul Kelly of Saint Etienne, is in a band Birdie (see www.myspace.com/birdiepop) with Debsey Wykes from Dolly Mixture. Sarah Cracknell released a solo album, Lipslide, in 1997.


Thanks to JoAnn Whetsell for work on this entry.

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Entry last updated 2015-05-25 17:42:24.
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