Abel Tesfaye's dark, twisted album is at odds with the glossy pop world he's been thrust into
St. Etienne : London ICA
Saint Etienne remain brilliantly, artfully, detached
Such experiments are seldom subtle. Just as ancient rockers Pink Floyd used to perform 'Money' against footage of cash registers, pounding analogue synth monster 'New Thing' is illustrated by cranes and building sites (new things, see?). Most of the films attempt to show the capital in a stark, unforgiving light. This is the London of kickabouts by burnt out scooters, boarded up pubs and derelict suburbia. Best of all is 'Shower Scene', which depicts people scuttling about the city in driving rain for three minutes before a delightful acoustic guitar breakdown soundtracks rainbows peeking from behind the office blocks.
In this context, death disco opus 'Like A Motorway' makes an obvious and welcome encore. Resisting the temptation to camp it up with the rest of them this year, Saint Etienne remain brilliantly, artfully, detached.
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Oxford's finest flit between gnarly rock and frustrating slickness on an often-brilliant fourth album