Saint Etienne: 2017
Saint Etienne at WFUV with Kara Manning (photo by Jiyoon Seo)
It’s been just over 25 years since Saint Etienne — the trio of Sarah Cracknell, Bob Stanely and Pete Wiggs — released their innovative debut album, Foxbase Alpha.
Throughout the long arc of their career, Saint Etienne’s songs have reflected the sophisticated side of London’s pop culture. The trio has artfully dabbled in dance, synthpop, acid house, retro-Sixties and jangling C86-style guitars. They’ve always looked to daily British life or institutions as inspiration too, from the BBC to the National Rail.
On Saint Etienne’s latest album, Home Counties, Sarah, Bob and Pete look beyond city life and cast an eye on the suburbs where they grew up, the counties ringing Greater London, like Surrey, Essex, Berkshire and Sussex. It’s not a nostalgic album, but it is a poignant one, with upbeat, luminous songs like “Dive” and “Whyteleafe”
When Saint Etienne came up to FUV’s Studio A, they brought their full band minus one — Bob Stanley had to do research for a book during their short New York stay. But Cracknell and Wiggs discussed Saint Etienne’s return after a five-year break, their side projects, and their long career as one of Britain’s most unusual and imaginative bands.