Saint Etienne have shared brand new track “Penlop.” The song is off their forthcoming release I’ve Been Trying To Tell You, available September 10, 2021 via Heavenly Recordings. The LP has spawned remixes by Daniel Avery, Jane Weaver and Vince Clarke. A live tour follows in November with a limited edition box set in the works.
Thirty years on from their groundbreaking debut Foxbase Alpha, I’ve Been Trying To Tell You was made largely from samples and sounds drawn from the years 1997-2001, a period that was topped and tailed by Labour’s election victory and the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers. Was the optimism of that era a lost golden age, or was it a period of naïvety, delusion and folly? The collective folk memory of any period differs from the lived reality. I’ve Been Trying To Tell You is an album about memory, how it works, how it tricks you and creates a dream-like state. It also taps into the way we think of our youth, a sense of place, and where we come from.
For the first time, Saint Etienne didn’t record together in a studio. The album was completed remotely, in Hove (Pete Wiggs), Oxford (Sarah Cracknell) and Bradford (Bob Stanley), in collaboration with film and TV composer Gus Bousfield, who contributed to two songs on the album.
“To me it’s about optimism, and the late nineties” Bob explains “and how memory is an unreliable narrator. Pete and Gus have done a properly amazing production job. I think it sounds gorgeous.”
Sarah: “It’s the first sample driven album we’ve made since So Tough and it’s been a really refreshing experience, such fun! It’s both dreamy and atmospheric, late summer sounds.”
Pete: “We’ve really pulled apart and dived deep into the samples; the concept and each of our interpretations of it have made this a very special sounding album, we hope you think so too.”
The album is accompanied by a specially-made film directed by the acclaimed photographer and film-maker Alasdair McLellan who also did all the stills photography for the record. There’s a whole lifetime’s worth of locations in there – Avebury, Portmeirion, Doncaster, Grangemouth as well as London. Evoking the era through the fog of memory, the resulting film is beautiful, hypnotic and all-enveloping.
Alasdair says “My starting point was an interpretation of my memories from the time I first started to listen to Saint Etienne’s music. Of course, it is an interpretation of what I was doing then while looking back at it now. At that time, I was a bored teenager in a village near Doncaster, South Yorkshire; it was a place where very little happened. I now look back at that time as something quite idyllic – even the boredom seems idyllic – and a big part of its soundtrack was Saint Etienne.”
The premiere of I’ve Been Trying To Tell You will be accompanied by a whole weekend of The Films Of Saint Etienne at BFI Southbank between September 3rd & 5th; seven films and a selection of shorts with most screenings accompanied by Q&As with Saint Etienne and their collaborators.
The Films Of Saint Etienne
presented by Sonic Cinema at BFI Southbank
9/3/2021- I’ve Been Trying to Tell You (Premiere) + Q & A with Alasdair McLellan & Bob Stanley, NFT1
9/3/2021- This Is Tomorrow + intro by Bob Stanley & Paul Kelly, NFT2
9/4/2021- Asunder + intro by Esther Johnson & Bob Stanley, NFT2
9/4/2021- Finisterre + Q & A with Bob Stanley & Pete Wiggs, NFT 1
9/4/2021- How We Used to Live + Q & A with Pete Wiggs & Travis Elborough, NFT1
9/5/2021- Lawrence of Belgravia + Q & a with Paul Kelly & Lawrence, NFT1
9/5/2021 – What Have You Done Today Mervyn Day? + Q & A with Pete Wiggs & Paul Kelly, NFT1
9/5/2021- Saint Etienne: Shorts Programme + intro by Paul Kelly & Pete Wiggs, NFT2
Tickets available at BFI.org.uk
11/18/2021 – Glasgow, St Lukes
11/19/2021 – Sunderland, to be announced
11/20/2021- London, Alexandra Palace Theatre
11/23/2021 – Bristol, Trinity
11/24/2021 – Birmingham, Institute
11/25/2021 – Saltaire, Victoria Hall
11/26/2021 – Liverpool, Grand Central Hall
11/27/2021- Hove, Old Market
Pre-order I’ve Been Trying To Tell You by Saint Etienne HERE