Saint Etienne - Sound of Water

Saint Etienne
Sound of Water
Sub Pop

Compared to their previous, club-friendly sound that has graced dance floors for the past ten years, on their latest release Saint Etienne trades in their platform shoes for a continental vacation spent sipping gin and tonics somewhere in the Mediterranean. Sound of Water is a cool, more reflective approach that unfolds like a forgotten postcard from a secret hideaway. With the help from collabrotors such as To Rococo Rot and Sean O’Hagan (The High Llamas), their latest record is reminiscent of pastoral landscapes and softly sung lullabies. Songs such as "Don’t Back Down" percolate with soft-focus textures amidst the flow of breathy vocals and soaring string arrangements. "Downey, CA" is a nostalgic portrait of Southern California while "How We Used to Be" sails through the expansive route of the album’s nine-minute medley, navigated by starlight. The enjoyment from this record stems from its subtle, complimentary ability to become part of the listener’s environment. So much, in fact, that the listener is aware of a floating sensation, as if being carried downstream to the sound of water.