The Skinny: This is is the third studio album by English indie dance band Saint Etienne. The album is described by keyboardist Bob Stanley as “an album of modern folk songs done in twentieth century styles like techno and dub.”
Sounds like: Stereolab, Pet Shop Boys, Pulp, Stars, Massive Attack, The Go! Team
Deeper Thoughts: I read an article that said that the band’s original intention was for all the songs to be about death. This record doesn’t throw off the sort of brooding vibe I would therefore expect. I guess sunny dance-poppers have a very different view of death than some of us lugubrious types. The dance floor is apparently packed in the afterlife, and souls are dressed smartly. If “Cool Kids of Death” is any indication, pour me a Red Bull & vodka; I’m ready to cross over. Sarah Cracknell can absolutely sing at my funeral.
The American edition of the album replaced the UK cover art with a photograph of the band smartly dressed at a cafe table.
The Sonics: This disc isn’t as overwhelmingly “oontsy” and thumpy as a lot of dance records. The sound is refined and continental. I want to take this disc to Europe and crank it with the top down, driving fast along the Cote d’Azure. Saint Etienne use the entire frequency spectrum, with tasty sounds lurking around every corner. I could see using this disc as a reference standard.
Sarah Cracknell – vocals, snowboard, scaremonger
Bob Stanley – keyboards, wulfren, Scouse wit
Pete Wiggs – keyboards, space blue rinse, saucy git
Ian Catt – keyboards, guitar, bass guitar, bodlondeb
1. “Urban Clearway”
2. “Hug My Soul”
3. “Former Lover”
4. “Like a Motorway”
5. “On The Shore”
6. “Marble Lions”
7. “Pale Movie”
8. “Cool Kids of Death”
9. “I Was Born on Christmas Day”
10. “The Boy Scouts of America”
11. “Hug My Soul (Alternative Version)”
12. “Like a Motorway (Alternative Version)”
This U.S. release does not include the “Western Wind”/”Tankerville” suite. In place of the cut songs is the single “I Was Born On Christmas Day” and remixes by Daniel Abraham of “Hug My Soul” and “Like a Motorway.”