A little while back I poured scorn on the NME for producing a feature on 40 beautiful album sleeves. I took issue with the definition; only one sleeve, Dylan’s Freewheelin, could be construed as beautiful. The majority of their selections were indeed iconic, but not in any way pleasing on the eye. Of course, such a thing is in the eye of the beholder and all that, but few will doubt that the sleeves of St Etienne are anything but beautiful. Deliciously crafted, with exquisite use of photos, font and colour, a St Etienne disc is a thing of great beauty and they’re about to become more so.
Yes, over the next few months their complete back catalogue will be reissued in deluxe format with each original album featuring a bonus CD of b-sides, rare tracks and unreleased material. The albums will be released in pairs starting, on May 11th, with the debut Foxbase Alpha and 1997’s Continental. So Tough and Sound of Water follow later in the summer; Tiger Bay and Finisterre in the autumn; Good Humour and Tales from Turnpike House early in 2010, plus all of their remixes on Casino Classics.
I absolutely love a deluxe double disc reissue and have come late to appreciate the delights of St Etienne (I was on holiday from popdom in the early 1990s). This is my chance to play catch up. I know for a fact that most Pop Junkies regard them almost as highly as Scott, Morrissey and Jarvis (Pulp’s first major tour was at the invitation of Bob & Pete).
You may already have your ticket for one of the Foxbase Alpha live airings at;
Wed 13th May Glasgow ABC
Thu 14th May Sheffield Leadmill
Fri 15th May London Bloomsbury Ballroom
Sat 16th May London Bloomsbury Ballroom
Fri 29 Barcelona Primavera
Sat 30 Cork Opera House
Plus festival outings at Latitude, Berlin, Leicester, Brighton and Moseley.
The Foxbase bonus CD comprises (*denotes previoulsy unreleased):
Kiss & Make Up – 12″ Version, Filthy, Chase HQ*, Sally Space*, The Reckoning*, Speedwell, Parliment Hill, People Get Real, Sweet Pea*, Winter In America*, Fake 88, Studio Kinda Filthy, Kiss And Make Up – Sarah Version, Sky’s Dead.
Continental was a Japanese only compilation of non-album singles, cover versions and new material that was recorded in 1996-97 inbetween working on other projects. The album, which features ‘He’s On The Phone’, their biggest hit, now receives it’s first ever release outside of Japan and has been remastered and expanded to two discs, including four previously unreleased tracks (Where Did Our Love Go demo, Postal Interlude, Under Her Spell and We Could Have It All demo).