11 May 2011

Saint Etienne - Foxbase Alpha (1991) deluxe ed (2009)

"This is what started it all. From album to album, the trio of Saint Etienne change musically like a chameleon changes its colors - and each change can be appreciated in a different way. There's something special about Foxbase Alpha, though. Sure it's a little rough around the edges (not having the help of the mixers from albums like Tiger Bay and Continental), but this album has a warmth all its own - a sort of timelessness, if you will. Some of the songs on the album are achievements that the Etienne have yet to top. 'Nothing Can Stop Us' is an amazing song, and it WILL put you in a good mood, no question. 'London Belongs To Me' washes you away in a dreamy sea of gentle vocals and synths. And of course, there's 'Spring', an utterly charming and innocent number. Those are my favorites, but I haven't even mentioned their outstanding covers - 'Only Love Can Break Your Heart' by Neil Young, 'Kiss And Make Up' by the Field Mice... I could go on and on.

I love all of Saint Etienne's albums, and I appreciate each of them for what they are - it takes guts to make a pop record one year and a techno one the next, at the risk of seriously alienating some fans. Foxbase Alpha, though, is on a pedestal in my heart. Bob Stanley, Pete Wiggs, and Sarah Cracknell may have gone on from here to explore newer, stranger, and wilder sonic frontiers, but this, their first foray into music, is simply magical."

Get it here.

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