Folk of a certain age tend to clasp local trio Saint Etienne (the ‘Et’ to their nearest and dearest) close to their (probably more than ample) bosom.

For example, Mrs Kentishtowner fondly remembers the day, back in 1992, when she skived off Sixth Form to get her vinyl copy of ‘So Tough’ signed at HMV’s flagship store. (She was, she’ll now admit, so hungover that she later puked behind the bins on Winsley Street.)

And young people, we implore you, how can you not have heard and loved ‘Only Love Can Break Your Heart’? ‘Avenue’? ‘Like A Motorway’? ‘He’s On The Phone’? Career highlight Mario’s Cafe was even dedicated to a very NW5 institution.

So now they’re back, after a 7 year absence, a little hairier (and that’s just Sarah), with a new album which includes the free track ‘Tonight’, downloadable from their website, or listenable ici:

Melancholy synths? Check. Happy-sad vocals? Check. Nostalgic sense of better days? Check. Yup, it’s a blast. And in Sir Bob (Stanley)’s own words: ‘Tonight is about the anticipation of going to see your favourite group. For some reason, I imagine this show is at the Forum in Kentish Town. The whole album is about the power of pop, how it affects and shapes your life.’

We’ll all second that.

Words: Stephen Emms

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