Random Access Memories
"In 1974 I bought my first single," says Sarah Cracknell on this album's opening track. "From Woolies, in Redhill…"
This reminisce sets the tone perfectly for Words And Music By Saint Etienne, an album that sees the veteran British synth-pop trio delve deep into their early and teenage fixation with music and attempt to explore why it still holds such a fascination over them in middle age.
It's a charming album because it’s so evidently sincere. Over her band's reliablyplangent electro-doodles, Cracknell pays a breathy homage to sepia memories such as 1970s Radio 1 Top 40 rundowns (Over The Border), first gigs (Tonight), snogging in discos (DJ) and, on I've Got Your Music, her very first pair of headphones.
The music itself is far from retro, with fizzing synth hooks and Auto Tune marking tracks such as 25 Years. If there is a fault, it's that the melodies are less than memorable: it is unlikely that anybody will ever gaze back wide-eyed in wonder at Saint Etienne in the way the trio venerate Marc Bolan. Nevertheless, as a gently engaging trip down memory lane for pop fans of a certain vintage, this album will take some beating.