Home Counties

Saint Etienne - Home Counties
Critic Score
Based on 21 reviews
2017 Ratings: #304 / 898
User Score
Based on 47 ratings
June 2, 2017 / Release Date
LP / Format
PIAS / Label
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In these uncertain times, a blast of hot sunshine and a listen to this record certainly make the world a better place to be.
The good news is that even if the lyrics leave you scratching your head, the tunes are up there with the best the band have ever done.
The Skinny

As they move closer to the middle ground, Saint Etienne are far from re-inventing the wheel, but in writing delectable pop hooks about a place as decidely uncool as the home counties, that was never really the point.

The Line of Best Fit

Thematically the album's tight and the catchy hooks and danceable rhythms drip with just the right amount of psychedelic dance-pop sweetness.


It may not be flashy like their early work, experimental like some of their mid-period albums, or punchy like Words and Music, but the album takes in elements of everything they've done along the way and repurposes it in a lovely, extremely satisfying fashion.

God Is in the TV

Home Counties features familiar ingredients. There’s warm songwriting, lush melodies, references to British culture and a sense of humour. The familiarity and mastery of their craft doesn’t dilute the joy of their new release.

They sound as assured as ever on ‘Home Counties’. On the dreamy ‘Whyteafe’, they discuss Crawley (!) and “the sweet municipal dream” while ‘Dive’, ‘Heather’ and ‘Unopened Fan Mail’ are up their with their best.

Saint Etienne never identified as Britpop, and fair enough. But with Home Counties, they give us a glimpse of what cutting-edge ’90s pop could have become if it had evolved into adult music with a more earthbound point of view.

Under The Radar

Home Counties has much to offer in the way their greatest records always have-infectious hits, interesting soundscapes, nods to musical history, all under the sprawling umbrella of pop.

The Guardian

Throughout it all, Sarah Cracknell’s voice – coolly observational with a hint of gossip – remains a uniquely beautiful sound in British pop.

The band’s approach to music-making has always been as eclectic as their references, but generally they’ve stuck to one approach per album. Unfortunately this is where ‘Home Counties’ comes a bit unstuck. There’s quite a lot going on.
The unhurried new album from English indie pop trio Saint Etienne centers on a theme of geography. Across 19 tracks, the band offers a day-in-the-life snapshot of their native London commuter towns.

The ninth studio album from English indie pop trio Saint Etienne explicitly references place in every aspect of its presentation, from lyrics to artwork to the title itself—which is English slang for a loosely-defined ring of commuter communities that surround the city of London. For American ... read more
The band relocated to the outskirts of London where the air is clean and life is easy and made a cool soundtrack for the welcome garden-party: carefree, pop tunes that would satisfy the whole community of Sweet Arcadia.
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Track List

  1. The Reunion
  2. Something New
  3. Magpie Eyes
  4. Whyteleafe
  5. Dive
  6. Church Pew Furniture Restorer
  7. Take It All In
  8. Popmaster
  9. Underneath the Apple Tree
  10. Out of My Mind
  11. After Hebden
  12. Breakneck Hill
  13. Heather
  14. Sports Report
  15. Train Drivers in Eyeliner
  16. Unopened Fan Mail
  17. What Kind of World
  18. Sweet Arcadia
  19. Angel of Woodhatch

Year End Lists

#82/Under the Radar
#86/Rough Trade
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Added on: March 23, 2017