A good compilation of St Etienne's finest moments. All very gentle on the ear, though I do hate the talky bits on some of their songs. The typical record company habit of "new tracks only available on this greatest hits" is also indulged on this and they are both pretty decent.
St Etienne are Bob Stanley, Pete Wiggs and Sarah Cracknell on vocals; it's very hard to pigeon hole them, as every track is different, but one thing they do have is that underground Brit-pop sort of grittiness.
For me, it all started when I heard "Only Love Will Break Your Heart", a dancey number - and a Neil Young cover, done beautifully by Sarah. Listening to this album does make you think "I've not heard that in a long time" which is good in ways, but it just reminds you why did they never break the big time, there's really some good moments - with hints of Pet Shop Boys (Who Do You Think You Are for example, could have easily fitted on their Introspective album) and a lot of different genres, even some rather dated Italian House and latin-house, which didn't really work for me.
There's also the chart hit "He's On The Phone", which though cheesy, is a really good piece of pop music, with great harmonies. You also get some dreamy tracks like "Like A Motorway", which fits in nicely with vocal dance music we get now.
Altogether there are 35 tracks here, chartering three decades of the groups successes, and their experiments which went not to plan (well, my opinion anyway). I like the way they have a dreamy sound, with typically 60s French lyrics from Sarah, even has the voice - which is a big plus. Their music never stagnated in one genre, which makes this a good listen on a Sunday morning with your coffee.
St Etienne has been doing it for 35 years now...beginning in the same region of Germany as their heroes, Kraftwerk, they were not satisfied with being the second-best acoustic-guitar, bongo & zither trio...slow and steady wins the race (check out the footage of the Ets opening for Kiss in '79...(Bob's bro-ham Paul is their lead singer and you can sense the rivalry between the two rock behemoths)...so in the late-seventies, they took a different tact...precursors to the garage band revival spearheaded by Little River Band and the Lyres (after Peter Tosh left), St Etienne forged a body of work similar in breadth to the late Byrds (pre Rod Argent) but in texture, could only be compared to GG Allin's output, but MORE sedate, if that's possible...all hail, the best garage band ever to lv Germany in one piece and come back to tell the tale with schnitzel and pretzels! essential...