Thursday, 13 October 2016
Old Music: Saint Etienne - Sally Space
Saint Etienne, to a greater or lesser extent, always got pop right. No more so than on their debut record Foxbase Alpha, which if I ever sat down and wrote one of those 100 Albums You Should Listen To Before You Die lists would guaranteed to be featured. Why? Because Foxbase Alpha did that rare thing that so few pop albums manage to achieve - it sounded effortlessly cool, it sounded classy and it clearly demonstrated that it was made by people that really understood and loved pop in the widest sense. Saint Etienne made me want to join their club.
Incredibly it's now 25 years since the release of that record (shit I feel old) and to celebrate there's a big bumper package of a re-release coming.
From October 28th a limited edition triple-vinyl box set will be available to pre-order for delivery / release on January 13th 2017. This includes the original album cut over two discs at 45rpm plus a bonus album (at 33rpm) of associated recordings from the era - most of which is appearing on vinyl for the first time. There will also be a special one sided 7” single featuring a previously unreleased demo of Moria Lambert (vocalist for Only Love Can Break Your Heart) singing over a radically different version of Kiss And Make Up, plus a 32 page book and assorted inserts - including band photos, original press releases and Foxbase trading cards to complete the package. For non vinyl heads there will also be a double CD version featuring the original album plus the bonus album of associated recordings.
Talking about the album recently, Bob Stanley said:
“I'd say the turn of the 90s was the biggest boom time for UK DIY music, even moreso than the late 70s. For a start, these records were having a direct effect on the singles chart. Also, it felt like a lot of the characters who had been around in the post-punk era were now part of the rave era (I love the fact that Acid House DJ Colin Faver had worked at the Small Wonder shop and signed the Cure and Bauhaus!).
Anyway, me and Pete were working on a budget made up of our savings. Heavenly was in similar straits. I think it cost about £4,000 in the end, but that was about a year's worth of recordings. Ian Catt's studio was in a prefab on a council estate in Mitcham. We were really influenced by Joe Meek at the time, and so was Ian. Making the biggest noise possible in the smallest room.
I can still feel and hear the enjoyment we got from messing about with samples, playing old synths, splicing tapes, trying to get every idea in our heads - Derrick May, the Beach Boys, bits of quiz shows and ad jingles - onto one record. Because obviously we thought we'd never make another. I'm envious of my younger self - it did seem like we wrote a new song every day for about six months."
From this new release take a listen to one of the bonus tracks below. Sally Space is quintessential early 90's Saint Etienne and could have easily made it on to Foxbase Alpha, from the loose feel of the drumming to the druggy reverb added to Sarah Cracknell's vocal.
Saint Etienne - Sally Space