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Saint Etienne 

Tales from Turnpike House

Saint Etienne
Tales from Turnpike House
(Savoy Jazz)
Somewhere below cult status here despite being one of the most sophisticated, sexy bands in the UK for 15 years, Saint Etienne carry on danceably. The velvet voice of Sarah Cracknell is the first thing newcomers will notice. Without her, it could be mistaken for blokes with beats and a Brian Wilson fetish. When she sings, England swings again. A few songs tell the story of a neighbourhood under siege from traffic patterns. On “Teenage Winter,” a tanning salon replacing a baker and Red Hot Chili Peppers tunes playing in a bar where a jukebox used to be represent a gathering grey gloom. “Stars Above Us (Cause They Love Us)” could be the new “Up On the Roof.” In Saint Etienne’s world, rhythm and sweetness scratch each other’s back for a greater good.
—Doug Taylor

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