An album of fresh, spring-like electro-pop and sampledelia that stands as a ‘what we could have won’ alternative vision for music contrasting to how Britpop ended up panning out, Saint Etienne’s 1993 sophomore effort So Tough is re-issued once again. Inspired by Sixties gems like Smile and The Who Sell Out, it’s a kaleidoscope of classic pop influences rendered with contemporary techniques.
Vinyl LP £17.99 HVNLP6
Reissue LP on Heavenly.
- Includes download code
CD £9.99 HVNLP6CDDE
Deluxe 2 disc edition on UMC.
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- So Tough by Saint Etienne
8/10 Penrith Steve 31st July 2015
“So Tough” was the second album by Saint Etienne and was released in 1993. I think it is by far their best work and is a bit of a classic. It works really well as a whole with all the songs being linked with samples of dialogue from films such as “Billy Liar” (“A man could Lose himself in London”). The first few tracks have a certain ambient quality to them. It opens with “Mario’s Café” which is a piece of ethereal pop as is “Avenue” whereas “Calico” is reminiscent of Massive Attack. Bursting out of the ambience comes the catchy ‘60s pop of “You’re In A Bad Way”. “Hobart Paving” comes next and is a lovely piano ballad and arguably the album's best song. The quality drops a bit after that as there are some dated dance tracks such as “Leafhound” and “Conchita Martinez”, the latter features a sample of “Spirit Of The Radio” by Rush. However, the flow of the album with interconnecting samples still works.
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