Whether their offerings are aimed at the dance floor or the heartstrings, Saint Etienne has long been included among the coolest and smartest electro pop bands. And despite their past success, their new album I've Been Trying To Tell You feels special in many ways. The product of the pandemic, it was recorded remotely rather than in a studio, working with several producers and collaborating with film and television composer Gus Bousfield, who contributed two of the songs. Samples are used extensively throughout, creating a nostalgic and diverse soundscape that intentionally refers to memories of optimism in late '90s UK. The album is atmospheric and dreamy in the most literal way -- the songs have the feel of drifting into and out of dreams of the past. Or an alternative version I like is that it is like watching a romantic movie from the '90s on late night TV, drifting into and out of sleep so you are only catching snippets of plot and suggestions of moods. But whichever interpretation you like the album is intriguing, full of sparkling warmth, and a worthy addition to Saint Etienne's discography.
Saint Etienne are Bob Stanley, Sarah Cracknell, and Pete Wiggs. I've Been Trying To Tell You is out now via Heavenly Recordings. We also note that film maker Alasdair McLellan directed a film to accompany the album.