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Words and Music By Saint Etienne

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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.


Formed: 1988 in Croydon, London, England

Genre: Pop

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

Like most bands founded 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...
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Words and Music By Saint Etienne, Saint Etienne
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