If you thought a song called People Get Real would consist of finger-waving Jeremy Kyle sound bites and street-savvy colloquialisms then speak to the hand and get a DNA test – Saint Etienne’s Sarah Cracknell resists the urge to holler “you ain’t my real mutha anyways” by reuniting the raddled 90s pop scene with revised 1960s kitsch so dreamy it’s beyond hallucination. Cracknell’s foamy and breathlessly quiff-like cooing won’t worry Whitney, but does the job wonderfully with her menacingly sweet abilities, as on the dense melancholy of Avenue, swirling in delicious candyfloss nostalgia. Kiss & Make Up sung by Donna Savage floats ashore giving you memories you never had in the first place.
Counteracting these warm tones of lush promenade promise, the stoic disco coping strategy Like A Motorway is a lucid account of detached echoing grief – Cracknells cracked façade absorbs into the lurid Moroder bass line like ink bleeding onto paper, with the untouchable fluid fatality of reading a suicide note mirrored to the greediness of an intrusive newspaper headline. Her frozen horror fades into the horizon but with lingering calculation.
Further on in their discography, the cosy “hold tight” stargazing flight of Stars Above Us gave the group their best chance of a hit single since the Motiv8 rampage He’s On The Phone. With a possible dance project igniting the rumour mill perhaps once more they are on the cusp to deliver disorientated pop perfection all over again.