Home counties concept album
The Home Counties have always been viewed with a mix of ridicule and sepia-tinged nostalgia; a vision of England that never was. Saint Etienne, themselves residents, take on the stereotypes with a concept album of sorts, reminiscent of The Kinks Village Green. It’s a train trip around the satellites of London. It opens, perfectly, with a Radio 4 announcer and we’re off, calling at Something New about a teenage girl creeping in past midnight, Whyteleafe which imagines a David Jones who never became David Bowie in a boring office job, the wonderful Train Drivers In Eyeliner and the epic Sweet Arcadia which is a lament for the lost dream of the Essex Plotland settlers. Saint Etienne have always had a clean sound, creating ambience and dance rhythms for a train journey well worth jumping on board for.
This review first appeared in Louder Than War magazine, issue 10, June/July 2017