I am late for everything, and hearing new music that is 8 months old is no different. I love the occaisional sprinkling of Saint Etienne: I never feast on them, but every once in a while when partial, I can't get enough of their flirtatious melodies - a style that projects beyond the mundane and into kitchen-sink kitsch bliss. The supernatural promenade trance of Avenue is a good example of their self-aware juxtoposition of beauty and elegance with blatant crapness, formed by imagination alone. A more literal trance offering was their Paul van Dyk collaboration Tell Me Why, which remains their highest credited chart placing at number 7.
They hit their commercial peak in 1995 with the unforgettably romantic He's On The Phone, a collaboration with Gina G's nemesis Steve Roadway, and have never struck a chord with UK radio or record buyers since.
In 2009, a spirited return to the UK top 40 looked irresistably iminent with their sugar-fused Richard X collaboration Method of Modern Romance (a verse dedicated to gaydar was curiously absent). Sarah Cracknell's vocals are technically limited and yet have their own acquired perfection: like carelessly spilled red wine, they stain forever. Suffice to say, the syngeing electronic tingles dangling together with Cracknell's breathless composire made a heroic number 56 and lord knows if these forces shall ever combine again.