Saint Etienne - Home Counties

by Ljubinko Zivkovic Rating:10 Release Date:2017-06-02

Music enthusiasts who are not that much in favour of the music Saint Etienne make, usually say that they are just a modernised version of ABBA. I’m not that familiar with what the trio think about such a comparison, but I’d guess they might be even thankful. I’m sure that they wouldn’t mind that level of success and the financial benefits that come along with it. Ok, I might add to that, if you want to categorise Saint Etienne with ABBA, call them the thinking man’s ABBA. They are still one of the rare bands that are able to come up with perfect pop that makes sense, both musically and lyrically.

And for those that diss pop in general, working within the constraints of such a category and coming up with something that is both good and meaningful, is most of the time much harder to do than coming up with something that would go into the category of “inventive experimental music” (of course, nothing wrong with that). Throughout the ten albums Saint Etienne released  in the last 25 years (not that much really), they have never failed in that respect. Maybe it has something to do with the side projects, but probably more with something you can call “internal quality control”. That might be one of the reasons they came up with only four of them in the last 15 years, including this newest one, Home Counties.

The moment Something New, the first real song here (The Reunion is just a brief introduction) starts, you know what you will be hearing. Great, perfectly sung (Sarah Cracknell’s voice is still one of the sexiest around), played and particularly arranged modern pop, something groups like Free Design did back in the Sixties, and Saint Etienne are still doing now. Making such music retain quality and sound good is an arduous task that requires a lot of musical talent and knowledge, this trio has them both.

From the beginning, it was quite obvious that Saint Etienne were a genuinely British band, Home Counties only confirms that. But they express their belonging in such a manner that non-islanders are able to fully grasp, not only their music but what they’re talking about. Just another confirmation how good they are.

Overall Rating (0)

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  • Jeff Penczak

    Agree with you, Ljubinko, this is a great album. Although I could have done without the silly bits in between the tracks and they still lean a little too heavily on their techno (over)indulgences, this is my favourite since Foxbase Alpha, so 25 years on, they've still got it!