Review of Continental Album by Saint Etienne

Review of Sait Etienne's album Continental

Saint Etienne Continental Album

As part of the ongoing back catalogue deluxe re-issue campaign, Saint Etienne's 1997 compilation 'Continental' sees a UK release for the first time, having previously only been available in Japan. The trio play multiple festivals during the summer and have a pair of headlining shows in Manchester and London in October.

When you look back at the contrasting dance and indie scenes from the early-to-mid nineties it really is credit to Saint Etienne that they sat so comfortably between the two with what ultimately comes down to being mature pop music. Sarah Cracknell's dreamy vocals propelled club hits such as the effortlessly cool 'Burnt Out Car', and of course there is the simply brilliant 'He's On The Phone' which even today sounds fresh and is as likely a floor-filler as you'll find. But this collection proves that the band's variation never thinned the quality - 'Sometimes In Winter' remains a beautiful piano ballad, 'The Process' leans toward melancholic jazz and 'Star' is the glam electro-stomp that Goldfrapp have made a career out of. The disc of bonus material also contains some gems, the best of which is the heart-pulling 'Can't Stop Now', while the previously unreleased 'Under Her Spell' is an androgynous and seductive number most definitely worth a listen. As an overall package the result is a well-balanced introduction to the band's early career and the extras mean fans have a reason to add this to their collection.

Alex Lai

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