Tales from Turnpike House

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Bill Pearis
Saint Etienne records have always had moments that played like snapshots of life in tony London, set to lush Eurodisco and laid-back exotica. But it was 2002's Finisterre, a love letter to the disappearing treasures found in their hometown, that really brought the observational aspects into focus. Bob Stanley, Pete Wiggs, and vocalist Sarah Cracknell narrow their scope on Tales from Turnpike House, presenting a day in the life of the residents of a tower block apartment building on the outskirts of London. It's also a charming culmination of everything they do well, probably their best record since 1998's Good Humour. As on that album, here the trio shift emphasis away ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Bill Pearis
Saint Etienne records have always had moments that played like snapshots of life in tony London, set to lush Eurodisco and laid-back exotica. But it was 2002's Finisterre, a love letter to the disappearing treasures found in their hometown, that really brought the observational aspects into focus. Bob Stanley, Pete Wiggs, and vocalist Sarah Cracknell narrow their scope on Tales from Turnpike House, presenting a day in the life of the residents of a tower block apartment building on the outskirts of London. It's also a charming culmination of everything they do well, probably their best record since 1998's Good Humour. As on that album, here the trio shift emphasis away from dance music, allowing the lyrical content to guide the musical tone. "Sun in My Morning" and "Milk Bottle Symphony" are light and jazzy, with lush vocal arrangements by '60s icon Tony Rivers, while "Slowdown at the Castle" is as hazy as a daydream. They even delve into rock with "Oh My" and "Last Orders for Gary Stead." Saint Etienne haven't totally forsaken their bread and butter, however. "Lightning Strikes Twice" and "A Good Thing" are the kind of percolating synthesizer confections the band does best, and the irresistible "Stars Above Us" is one of their best-ever creations. Tales from Turnpike House is yet another enjoyable chapter in Saint Etienne's ongoing musical travelogue.
All Music Guide - Andy Kellman
No matter the associates or variables involved, a Saint Etienne album is always going to end up sounding just like a Saint Etienne album, even if it's a little different from what came before it. On Tales from Turnpike House, the group gets two productions from Xenomania Girls Aloud, Sugababes, several vocal arrangements from Tony Rivers the Castaways, Harmony Grass and son, some songwriting and vocal contributions from the misunderstood David Essex "Rock On," "Stardust", and assorted things from faces old and new. The album comes out as their most organic since 1998's Good Humor; even the tracks driven by programming are warm in comparison to vast chunks of both Sound of Water and Finisterre. The concept -- a day in the life of fictional characters who live in a house that does indeed exist -- allows for a range of material that's as broad as what can be heard on any other Saint Etienne album. The glitzy dance-pop of "Stars Above Us" "Stars above us, cars below us/Nothing can touch us, baby", for example, precedes the ruminative "Teenage Winter," containing an all-too-sharp expression of the resisted shift away from adolescent fanaticism "And in the charity shop...not much left on the doorstep recently/Something to do with eBay, Johnny reckons/He's bidding on it now, for a Subbuteo catalog '81-'82/He'll win it, put it in a drawer and forget he ever bought it". Though the other dancefloor-ready songs -- the sleek, silken "A Good Thing" and the sweetly lacerating "Lightning Strikes Twice" -- have major presence, the gentler moments, thriving on easy-to-miss intricacies and enlivening vocal arrangements the Rivers men are astute Beach Boys disciples, are especially generous with their charms. [The U.S. version, released on Savoy Jazz this is not a joke, has a substantially different sequence and three tracks not present on the original U.K. issue. The best of the three is the B-side "I'm Falling," a David Essex collaboration that is gorgeously melancholy and not far off from an atmospheric version of Places to Visit's "We're in the City." Unfortunately, it does not contain Essex' vocal contribution, "Relocate." It's understandable that the label would want to add tracks to the album to differentiate it from a version that had been released months prior, but the resequencing and swapping out of tracks is a real head-scratcher.]
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/24/2006
  • Label: Savoy Jazz
  • UPC: 795041758026
  • Catalog Number: 17580
  • Sales rank: 172,725

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Side Streets (2:57)
  2. 2 A Good Thing (4:01)
  3. 3 Sun in My Morning (2:44)
  4. 4 Milk Bottle Symphony (4:06)
  5. 5 Dream Lover (3:32)
  6. 6 Lightning Strikes Twice (3:47)
  7. 7 Slow Down at the Castle (4:45)
  8. 8 Oh My (4:02)
  9. 9 Last Orders for Gary Stead (4:29)
  10. 10 I'm Falling (4:22)
  11. 11 Stars Above Us (3:26)
  12. 12 Teenage Winter (5:46)
  13. 13 Goodnight (2:29)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Saint Etienne Primary Artist
Ian Catt Help
Nick Coler Help
Sarah Cracknell Vocals, Group Member
Hugh McDowell Help
Pete Wiggs Group Member
Brian Higgins Help
Shawn Lee Help
Tim Powell Help
Jo Fraser Help
Johnny Chandler Help
Technical Credits
Ian Catt Producer, String Arrangements
Tony Rivers & the Castaways Vocal Arrangements
Xenomania Composer
Guy Davie Mastering
Lora Findlay Artwork, Cover Design
Mark Waterfield Composer
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