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Words and Music By Saint Etienne

Saint Etienne

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iTunes Review

Band members Bob Stanley, Pete Wiggs, and Sarah Cracknell draw upon their collective love for yesterday’s tunes and fashions to make this deeply personal album feel both uplifting and bittersweet. Sonically, Words and Music boasts insistent grooves that propel Cracknell’s caressing vocals through billowing synthesizer textures. The songs' glide and swirl make the band’s coming-of-age reflections seem all the more poignant. Tracks like “DJ”, “Tonight", and “The Last Days of Disco” seamlessly blend memories of young romance and musical infatuation. In tandem with coproducers Ian Catt, Richard X, and Tim Powell, the band shifts from gauzy heartache balladry (“I Threw It All Away”) to biting ‘80s-edged rock (“When I Was Seventeen”) and summery old-school soul (“Haunted Jukebox”) with a smooth but never clinical touch. Cracknell’s spoken-word recollections of her teenaged obsessions in “Over the Border” make the autobiographical elements more explicit.

Customer Reviews

Another finest hour from the trio.

Straight off, i'm a fan of Saint Etienne, so there is a bias in this review and I want to get that out in the open. This review though, is about this album, not how I feel about the group, although I will mention that at the end. This album, for me, is all about the last 40 years of pop music and how pop music has influenced us and how it has also been the soundtrack to the lives of my generation. That's too simple a summary though, because this album goes a lot lot deeper than just scratching the surface. There is the lilting simplicity of the 60's songstress, the heady innocence of the 70's disco, the fresh arrogant sound of the 80's, the 90's retro nod and wink to the 70's and the 00's leap in to sophisticated, reverse engineered music skilfully, digitally, rendered by the modern artists who not only understand how music really works, but also have the capability to create it. There's so much more than just some whimsical, musical reminiscence here. This is an album rammed so full of stuff, so much emotional content, it will keep expanding with every listen. Anybody who has listened to music for the last 40 years will hear more than just the odd catchy lick that they think reminds them of that song from the 60's, the 70's, the 80's, the 90's, the 00's. Oh, what is that song! This is some bloody infectious stuff on here, some absolutely delightful ear worms. There are stories here that everyone will be able to relate to. The lyrics are spot-on, the musical accompaniments are no accident and Sarah's voice has become so smooth and rich I kind of wish they'd go back and re-do the vocals of all the back catalogue, even though I love it as it is. Back to the album though, I really, really love it but, and I really hate it when there's a but, even though I do 'get' Music Doctor, it is a challenging contrast to the rest of the album. Should it be in the album? Yes. No. Yes it should, it is part of the story being told and I think from an artistic perspective, they were right to keep it in but I guess one of the joys of digital music, is you don't need to lift the tone arm if you aren't in the mood for that track. Bob, Pete, Sarah thank you very much, once again, for a classy piece of musical art that I shall enjoy forever. I've got your music!

GB in Chester

Back at their best, Sarah has a great voice and all the moodiness of it comes out here. well worth the wait.

Biography

Formed: 1988 in Croydon, London, England

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Like most bands formed by former music journalists, Saint Etienne were a highly conceptual group. The trio's concept was to fuse the British pop sounds of '60s London with the club/dance rhythms and productions that defined the post-acid house England of the early '90s. Led by songwriters Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs, and fronted by vocalist Sarah Cracknell, the group managed to carry out their concept, and, in the process, Saint Etienne helped make indie dance a viable genre within the U.K. Throughout...
Full bio
Words and Music By Saint Etienne, Saint Etienne
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