Wednesday, October 01, 2008

699. Saint Etienne - Foxbase Alpha (1991)

Track Listing

1. This Is Radio Etienne
2. Only Love Can Break Your Heart
3. Wilson
4. Carnt Sleep
5. Girl VII
6. Spring
7. She's the One
8. People Get Real
9. Stoned to Say the Least
10. Nothing Can Stop Us
11. Etienne Gonna Die
12. London Belongs to Me
13. Kiss and Make Up
14. Like the Swallow
15. Dilworth's Theme


We've had some dance music here already, and usually it was indie in the most general sense of the term (i.e. not being part of the 4 major labels and its subsidiaries) but the term has developed into specific popular meaning, describing a kind of twee sound. In that sense Saint Etienne is the first indie dance album we've had here and it is a defining album because of that.

So yes, it is quite twee, and the French influence is a deliberate way of making it tweer, that and the 60's swinging influence. Coupled with that is proper early 90s dance music, and that has unfortunately dated considerably.

So the two elements married here make this album be in kind of a threshold with one foot in that which didn't survive the test of time (90s dance music) and that which not only stood the test of time but has become almost dominant among stupid hipster kids nowadays (twee retroness). I have nothing against twee retroness, only silly hipsters, and therefore I liked the album, even if it didn't blow me away. It is interesting and has a couple of tracks which are really worth the price of admission, including a cover of Neil Young for the club scene!

Track Highlights

1. Like the Swallow
2. Only Love Can Break Your Heart
3. Spring
4. Nothing Can Stop Us

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

The album includes one of the group's best-known songs: a cover of Neil Young's "Only Love Can Break Your Heart". The cover is relatively faithful to the original but is arranged in 4/4 (as opposed to the original's waltz time), with a driving piano-bass-drum section. Andrew Weatherall later remixed the song to further emphasise the dub bassline; this remix was featured on both releases of the single and on the compilation Casino Classics. The follow-up single "Kiss and Make Up" is also a (comparatively obscure) cover version of a song written and originally recorded by The Field Mice. Ian Catt was the engineer/co-producer on both versions. "Carnt Sleep" contains bass lines lifted completely from "Wicked Cant Run This Dub" by Glen Brown & King Tubby, and "Nothing Can Stop Us", one of the group's most famous singles, features a very prominent sample of Dusty Springfield's track, "I Can't Wait to See My Baby's Face", from her 1967 album Where Am I Going?. "Nothing Can Stop Us" was later covered by Kylie Minogue.

Only Love Can Break YOur Heart:

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