Review Summary: If you want something you can stick on while you have a good time with a lady, besides Portishead, Air and Barry White, this is certainly your best choice.
I'm a passive Francophile, I really like things from across the channel, but because I think most Francophiles have poor taste, I don't go out of my way to discover anything French and chic. I'm too preoccupied with keeping some sort of primitive English dignity for anything like that. A friend of mine (Who isn't so ethnically challenged as to be English) doesn't have such reservations, and so I hear about le crème de la crème pour François from her.
To her surprise, I'll definitely show her this record soon. No, they are not a French group; they are Francophiles like me and my friend. They have something inside them that yearns for a certain je ne sais qua? Named after a football team, and reaching their peak of popularity during the second summer of love. This is quite possibly the best indie pop / dance group you've never heard of.
It is likely you have heard first song and lead sing, 'Only love can break your heart'. With its catchy vocal melodies, house piano and snappy drums. A cover of Neil Young, changing the original's Waltz time signature to a 4/4 dance beat, and making the song more instant, and getting the kids dancing. Andrew Weatherall also did a mix of the track, which expanded it to fit emphasize the bass line and fitting in a long dub midsection, which was a big hit in clubs at the time.
This record is a great example of how a crossover record should work, a significant part of one genre, should clash with another. On this record the melodies of pop, meet with the sharp song writing of indie, and beats and loops of dance music. Also, while some songs are very welcome on the dance floor, others are more suited for winding down at home. The record is best played as part of your post clubbing ritual, and can be just as essential as some exaggerated stories, someone you met that same night and something tasty to smoke.
Because, not only does it include catchy and well written pop songs, but also, a handful of chilled out, Orb inspired tracks, and with most of the songs having a slow pace, and the faster songs being sweet enough so as not to disturb the neighbours, we are certainly approaching, sunrise territory with this record. Sitting comfortably alongside other out there pop records with kooky lady singers such as Portishead and Bat For Lashes, but with the dance influences Bjork, Massive Attack and Tricky as well.
Saint Etienne never intended to have single singer as a constant member of the group, all of their previous singles were recorded with different women each time, but they certainly made a good choice picking Sarah Cracknell. Her smooth vocals perfectly compliment the indie dance crossover beats, and she takes on the melodies with ease, turning them into the catchy tunes they should be.
This record has wide reaching appeal, especially nowadays that very few indie bands can resist the allure of adding aspects of dance music, just as their Madchester based heroes did. Also, now that dance music has become the centre of modern dance music, fans of current chart music, won’t have to stretch their head too far to get what this group was all about. Also, fans of dance music, won’t have to worry too much about this record sounding dated, so long as they can still enjoy, Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld and Screamadelica.
Basically, if your looking for an intelligent female fronted dance group to fill out your record collection you’ve come to the right place. If you want something great to play an the evening, your bang on as well. If you want something you can stick on while you have a good time with a lady, besides Portishead, Air and Barry White, this is certainly your best choice.