Little Boots, ‘New In Town’/Saint Etienne, ‘Only Love Can Break Your Heart’

Little Boots
Saint Etienne

*Tap, tap* Is this thing working? One, two, one, two. “When you were yooooouuuung…”

There’s something in the air. Music goes in cycles, doesn’t it? I’m hoping you’ve got some evidence, because I’m whistling in the wind here. Strikes me, though, that the ’91 feeling is abroad, that Balearic’s back, that everything from rock to dance and all grimy stop-offs in between is daubed in pop, in that cred-shedding musical vernacular that makes all good records sound like hits.

Little Boots is exercising her sunny beats just as Saint Etienne are once more hawking Foxbase Alpha around to anyone who’ll listen – mainly 36 year olds who were there the first time, but perhaps a few Boots fans will jump on board too. Victoria Hesketh (er, yeah, Little Boots) is a lovely breathy singer like Sarah Cracknell, a cooing frontwoman for some capital dance-pop grooves and a poster-girl-in-waiting for the shy end of the indie boy spectrum. It’s a link of sorts!

Junior’s no shy indie boy, but she’s sweet on Victoria: “I love her singing, I love the picture.” There’s a story behind Saint Etienne, however, and she wants to hear about how she “saw” them at Koko a few weeks before she was, erm, born. “Was I dancing in Mummy’s tummy?” I rather think she was.

New In Town:

Only Love Can Break Your Heart:

[3] Saint Etienne, ‘Nothing Can Stop Us’

Saint Etienne

This was the first self-penned Saint Etienne single, and their manifesto in a nutshell. A breezy mix of Northern Soul, French pop sounds, harmonica, skipping groove, woodwind and lovestruck optimism, it’s impossible to resist. Again, I think it was my age, but this summed up the time for me. A summer when not even the ubiquitous spectre of Bryan Adams could shroud the boundless possibilities before us. No, the fug of alcohol and cigarettes took care of that.

London’s finest are a hardy perennial, in spite of some dicey moments in the mid to late 90s when pursuit of cred threatened to swamp the tunes. Their last three albums are pop gold, fulfilling all of Foxbase Alpha’s promise with a dash of maturity. Pity that hits continue to elude them.

Still, this song’s a big favourite with mum, dad and nipper alike. Junior launched herself right out of the ring, such was her giddy joy. I think I’ve mentioned that Saint Etienne were her first gig, her heavily pregnant mum braving Koko’s swish interiors. It wouldn’t be such a bad thing if they were her pop yardstick.

[All my vinyl rips seem to have corrupted; Top 11 mp3s to follow… later]