This is the Special Edition version, which includes the bonus "Up the Wooden Hills" EP.
Times were when the term "concept album" meant having to phone in sick to wade through some four hour long metaphysical prospectus on flying Nepalese goatherds performed by men in long capes. But not anymore. The storyboard to Saint Etienne
's Tales From Turnpike House
- in nature sharing many of the proletarian grievances of The Streets' A Grand Don't Come For Free
and Blur's Modern Life Is Rubbish
- is set in and around an Islington high rise and its charmlessly franchised local watering hole "The Hat And Fan" public house; a dysfunctional Camberwick Green environment populated by drifters, dreamers and misfits, where the circadian essentials of the neighbourhood bakery have been supplanted by the pretensions of tanning salons and where the alleyways (the sweet easy listening of "Side Streets") afford pleasant strolls for those unphased by the prospect of having one's wallet emptied and face rearranged. While film director Mike Leigh's bleak burlesques and the astringency of Luke Haines' Black Box Recorder provide honourable comparisons, Saint Etienne remain in love with wit, optimism, The Beach Boys and cut-price electronic disco. Thus, the eastern Eurovision witchery of "Lightning Strikes Twice" and the rooftop party funk-lite of "Stars Above Us" provide valuable pop hit currency, necessary checks and balances to the suffocating social fragmentation narrated on the outstanding "Teenage Winter". Even David Essex - it's official, he's cool again - pops up playing Richard Briers to Sarah Cracknell's Felicity Kendall on the rat race opt-out "Relocate". Tales From Turnpike House
is just the sort of record to give concept albums a good name. --Kevin Maidment
Saint Etienne’s 2005 album is arguably their most mature musical statement to date. An album with a concept, rather than a concept album, the titular Turnpike House
refers to a fictional block of flats whose residents provide the characters for the songs that are a microcosmic portrait of metropolitan life. A beautiful, considered album with a nod to Pet Sounds
and featuring David Essex, it demands to be listened to as an album and one which perfectly balances pure pop and sensitivity. The album, home to singles "A Good Thing" and "Side Streets", it has now been remastered by the band and expanded to two discs. The 16 bonus tracks on CD2 include eight previously unreleased tracks and other rarities from the album. This new version comes in luxury deluxe edition packaging with a booklet featuring sleevenotes by Travis Elborough and Jeremy Deller and lots of previously unseen photographs.
ST ETIENNE Tales From Turnpike House (2005 UK limited edition 2-disc set comprising of 12-track CD album featuring a sublime collection of songs about life on a council estate through the eyes of its inhabitants plus Bonus 6-track CD
including songs aimed at the children of their fans! Presented in sealed card clipcase)