RECORDS / New Release: St Etienne: Tiger Bay (Heavenly, CD/LP/tape)

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The Independent Culture
Pretty girl singer plus male musical boffins equals hits: the St Etienne pop equation is as classical as that, if not quite as chart-effective as they'd like. And while the boffins claim Kylie Minogue as inspiration, their love of dub, dance and film music has always brought an intriguing pinch of salt to their sugary choruses. But here they sweep away the avant-garde loose ends to concoct 12 tidy 'songs', and suffer the consequences. Tiger Bay seems thin, despite some lovely moments and a host of guests, like a series of pop forgeries that lack the conviction of their originals. The current single 'Pale Movie' isn't catchy or dancey or cinematic enough to stay in the mind as long as a Madonna record. Two collaborations with techno-dub meisters the Original Rockers are fine, but they sound just like the Original Rockers. The best song is a sweeping instrumental called 'Urban Clearway'. The rest is as diverting as the M25.

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