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Dance-pop band Saint Etienne are a quintessentially English proposition, part Lyons Corner House, part acid house, and their love of techno, the Beach Boys and classic English pop make them charmingly unique.
Saint Etienne grew up in the Home Counties. Here are sixteen new songs they have written about a day in the life of this doughnut of shires that ring the capital, punctuated by bursts of BBC radio to remind you what time it is, and all connected by train journeys – main lines, branch lines, commutes, escapes.
It begins with SOMETHING NEW, and a teenage girl creeping through the front door after staying out all night. It stops at WHYTELEAFE, and imagines what might have happened if David Bowie had remained David Jones of Bromley, stuck with a desk job. It summons up the Enfield Poltergeist on HEATHER, and the anarchy of Essex’s Plotland settlers on SWEET ARCADIA. TRAIN DRIVERS IN EYELINER wonders what the railway network might be like if it was organised according to ASLEF’s taste in music.
The love/hate relationship people have with ‘home’ is particularly acute in the Home Counties. Yet Saint Etienne understand that, if you squint, it could be almost utopian – here are the post-war new towns, much of the country’s modernist architecture, and the non-league football heroes of Sutton United, Leatherhead, Harlow Town. Three of the Beatles lived here. So did the Prodigy, the Zombies, Depeche Mode, Dr Feelgood and, naturally, Saint Etienne, small town groups looking to the capital but audibly inspired by municipal housing, box hedges and ring roads.
The album was produced by Shawn Lee of Young Gun Silver Fox, with support from Augustus (Kero Kero Bonito), Carwyn Ellis (Colorama, Edwyn Collins), Robin Bennett (The Dreaming Spires), Richard X (Girls On Top / Black Melody) and long-time collaborator Gerard Johnson (Denim, Yes). It was recorded in central London. Sarah, Bob and Pete commuted to the studio every day for six weeks.
Some of the biggest names in music visit the banks of the Tyne this May and June while we also have innovative talks and performances as part of Thinking Digital Arts 2017 & Hexham Gathering returns.
Sage Gateshead welcomes some of the finest indie and alternative rock bands from across the world.