Saint Etienne

Home Counties

Heavenly

Jun 05, 2017 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Find It At: AMAZON

Saint Etienne prove they are still capable of pop greatness. Stylistically more diverse (see the Latin flavor of "Dive," and the dustings of '60s baroque pop sprinkled about the album) and using more real instruments than on previous outings, the London trio pay homage to the suburbs from which they sprang. Casting an ear over their entire career, Home Counties comes complete with the BBC radio snippets beloved of their early records. The gorgeous melancholic pop of "Out of My Mind," breezy '60s "Take It All In," and the fantastic Good Humor-esque "Unopened Fan Mail" jump out immediately as songs you just know you'll be listening to over and over again. Same goes for the sure-to-be sing-a-long live anthem "Train Drivers In Eyeliner." Yes, it's as '70s glam as you'd expect. Reimagining David Bowie as someone who had instead remained in the suburbs working in an office, "Whyteleafe" is the record in microcosm. The song moves from a stately harpsichord intro and classic Saint Etienne major key verse to music city name-checking/Thin White Duke-referencing and a more ethereal breezy chorus. First single "Magpie Eyes" follows the same sort of musical structure. The album's last song with vocals, "Sweet Arcadia," brings spoken word vocals from singer Sarah Cracknell over a jazzy Finisterre feel. Home Counties has much to offer in the way their greatest records always have-infectious hits, interesting soundscapes, nods to musical history, all under the sprawling umbrella of pop. (www.saintetienne.com)

Author rating: 7.5/10

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