We went to the film premiere of Saint Etienne's new album last week, followed by a delightful Q&A with the band's Bob Stanley and the film maker Alasdair McLellan.
Jason Wood from Home is very good at this, and not only asks the questions you want him to, but brings his own passions and knowledge to the conversation. It feels very natural and comfortable.
Bob Stanley has to be one of the most interesting men in pop music, constantly experimenting and delving into his love of pop culture. Maybe I'm biased, but I think it's because he's basically a journalist.
I like the story told by Alasdair McLellan, a fashion photographer of some standing, that they started with one idea and settled on another, partly constricted by lockdowns and practicalities of the band having to record remotely. "When we met, we found we shared so much in common – after all, Saint Etienne’s music has always conjured beautiful images for me and influenced my own visual style – the project became something bigger."
There's something very Balaeric about the new album, lots of dreamy loops and smart samples. The intent is to create a melancholic sense of longing - nostalgia, as Bob correctly said on the night, is a disease - but this is some tonic.
The film features lots of implausibly beautiful young people hanging out together, intended to make you half-remember your own summers gone by. It's all stitched together like a strange road trip around Britain: from Southampton to Portmeirion to Blackpool to Grangemouth to Scunthorpe to London.
I'm not sure how you get to see the film at the cinema now, but the whole package of the album, vinyl, booklet, is available in all kinds of gorgeousness, here.