The London trio returns this autumn with their 10th studio release, I’ve Been Trying To Tell You - an album about optimism, youth and the late nineties. It is accompanied by a sumptuous film by the same name directed by acclaimed photographer Alasdair McLellan.
The film premieres on 3rd September alongside The Films Of Saint Etienne - a special weekend of screenings and Q & As at BFI Southbank. The album is Rough Trade Album of the Month in September with remixes by Daniel Avery, Jane Weaver and Vince Clarke. A live tour follows in November with a limited edition box set in the works.
Thirty years on from their groundbreaking debut Foxbase Alpha, the much-loved London trio Saint Etienne announce their 10th studio album I’ve Been Trying To Tell You slated for release on September 10th via Heavenly Recordings. The band share the first sound Pond House - an evocative collision of undulating beats and samples.
The album was made largely from samples and sounds drawn from the years 1997-2001, a period that was topped and tailed by Labour's election victory and the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers. Was the optimism of that era a lost golden age, or was it a period of naïvety, delusion and folly? The collective folk memory of any period differs from the lived reality. I’ve Been Trying To Tell You is an album about memory, how it works, how it tricks you and creates a dream-like state. It also taps into the way we think of our youth, a sense of place, and where we come from.
Listen to 'Pond House' - BELOW:
For the first time, Saint Etienne didn't record together in a studio. The album was completed remotely, in Hove (Pete Wiggs), Oxford (Sarah Cracknell) and Bradford (Bob Stanley), in collaboration with film and TV composer Gus Bousfield, who contributed to two songs on the album.
“To me, it’s about optimism and the late nineties” Bob explains “and how memory is an unreliable narrator. Pete and Gus have done a properly amazing production job. I think it sounds gorgeous.”
Sarah: “It's the first sample-driven album we’ve made since So Tough and it’s been a really refreshing experience, such fun! It’s both dreamy and atmospheric, late summer sounds.”
Pete: “We've really pulled apart and dived deep into the samples; the concept and each of our interpretations of it have made this a very special sounding album, we hope you think so too."
The album is accompanied by a specially-made film directed by the acclaimed photographer and filmmaker Alasdair McLellan who also did all the stills photography for the record. There's a whole lifetime's worth of locations in there - Avebury, Portmeirion, Doncaster, Grangemouth as well as London. Evoking the era through the fog of memory, the resulting film is beautiful, hypnotic and all-enveloping.
Alasdair says “My starting point was an interpretation of my memories from the time I first started to listen to Saint Etienne’s music. Of course, it is an interpretation of what I was doing then while looking back at it now. At that time, I was a bored teenager in a village near Doncaster, South Yorkshire; it was a place where very little happened. I now look back at that time as something quite idyllic – even the boredom seems idyllic – and a big part of its soundtrack was Saint Etienne.”
The film I’ve Been Trying To Tell You will premiere at NFT1 on the Southbank on 3rd September. Tickets go on sale to BFI members on Wednesday 4th August and the general public on Thursday 5th August. Watch the trailer BELOW:
The premiere of I’ve Been Trying To Tell You will be accompanied by a whole weekend of The Films Of Saint Etienne at BFI Southbank between the 3rd and 5th of September; seven films and a selection of shorts with most screenings accompanied by Q&As with Saint Etienne and their collaborators.
The Films Of Saint Etienne presented by Sonic Cinema at BFI Southbank
03.09.21- I’ve Been Trying to Tell You (Premiere) + Q & A with Alasdair McLellan & Bob Stanley, NFT1
03.09.21- This Is Tomorrow + intro by Bob Stanley & Paul Kelly, NFT2
04.09.21- Asunder + intro by Esther Johnson & Bob Stanley, NFT2
04.09.21- Finisterre + Q & A with Bob Stanley & Pete Wiggs, NFT 1
04.09.21- How We Used to Live + Q & A with Pete Wiggs & Travis Elborough, NFT1
05.09.21- Lawrence of Belgravia + Q & a with Paul Kelly & Lawrence, NFT1
05.09.21- What Have You Done Today Mervyn Day? + Q & A with Pete Wiggs & Paul Kelly, NFT1
05.09.21- Saint Etienne: Shorts Programme + intro by Paul Kelly & Pete Wiggs, NFT2
Tickets are available at BFI.org.uk
The album itself will be available on both black and clear vinyl editions as well as a single-disc CD and a limited double-disc CD/DVD edition which includes the album, the film and sleeve notes from socialist writer Owen Hatherley. The artwork is by renowned graphic design agency M/M (Paris) (Yohji Yamamoto, Björk, Madonna).
Rough Trade has made I’ve Been Trying To Tell You their Album of the Month for September and will offer an exclusive sky blue vinyl edition with a three-track remix CD with mixes by Daniel Avery, Jane Weaver and Vince Clarke here
In the pipeline is a Heavenly edition of the album with free flexidisc (check their bandcamp shop here), in addition to a lovingly put together ‘super deluxe’ limited edition box set with signed prints, film poster, DVD, exclusive 10” vinyl and 12” album - more news to come very soon.
Saint Etienne November Tour Dates
18.11.21 - Glasgow, St Lukes
19.11.21 - Sunderland, to be announced
20.11.21- London, Alexandra Palace Theatre
23.11.21 - Bristol, Trinity
24.11.21 - Birmingham, O2 Institute
25.11.21 - Saltaire, Victoria Hall
26.11.21 - Liverpool, Grand Central Hall
27.11.21- Hove, Old Market Tix
Tickets are available at BFI.org.uk
The album itself will be available on both black and clear vinyl editions as well as a single-disc CD and a limited double-disc CD/DVD edition which includes the album, the film and sleeve notes from socialist writer Owen Hatherley. The artwork is by renowned graphic design agency M/M (Paris) (Yohji Yamamoto, Björk, Madonna). A number of formats can be pre-ordered here.
I’ve Been Trying To Tell You album tracklist
1. Music Again
2. Pond House
4. Little K
5. Blue Kite
6. I Remember It Well
8. Broad River