Saint Etienne: Home Counties – Album of the year ’17

Featured in Epigram’s 2017 albums of the year list

The OED definition of ‘concept album’ should be Saint Etienne’s Home Counties.  The first LP from the three-piece in five years charts life in Southern England’s “doughnut of shires that ring the capital”. A nineteen track record peppered with samples from Radio 4 (‘The Reunion’) and non-league football scores (‘Sports Report’) could run the risk of feeling overly contrived, or even worse, twee, but Saint Etienne pull it off brilliantly. Single ‘Dive’ is the closest track to the indie-dance sound that first brought them fame, but Bob, Pete and Sarah have never been about rehashing their ‘glory days’ – they’ve never really stopped. In fact, Home Counties might just be their most fully-realised album to date. Whilst other highlights include the sultry ‘Heather’ and the wonderful spoken word ‘Sweet Arcadia’, the album is best enjoyed in full.

 

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