Saint Etienne

The Misadventures of Saint Etienne

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A mostly instrumental album released only in Japan, The Misadventures of St. Etienne is not quite a proper St. Etienne album. Instead, it's the soundtrack of a little-seen British indie film called The Misadventures of Margaret, starring Parker Posey and Brooke Shields. Fans of Sarah Cracknell's Lulu-style vocals should be warned that she sings on only seven of the 20 tracks, and that many of the remaining songs are simple piano instrumentals and themes. That said, the album's centerpiece song, "The Way I Fell for You," is a complete stunner, one of the band's best-ever tracks, and the ironically bouncy "It's All Gone Horribly Wrong" isn't far behind. Elsewhere, Bob Stanley's well-documented love for '60s French pop finally appears in their cover of Francoise Hardy's "Find Me a Boy." A few tracks sound a bit familiar, particularly "17th Century Sea," a kissing cousin of "The Sea" from the Continental compilation, but the overall mood (upbeat melancholy, perhaps?) makes up for weaknesses in individual tracks. Not an album to start with, but fans of St. Etienne's later work will find it essential.

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