Saint Etienne: Sarah Cracknell (vocals); Bob Stanley (keyboards, tambourine); Pete Wiggs (keyboards, bongos).
Additional personnel: Moira Lambert (vocals); Ian Catt (guitar, keyboard programming); Harvey Williams (bass); Pete Heller (programming); Bo Savage, Gazareth Sweeney, Uncle Vibes, Billy Nasty (background vocals).
Personnel: Sarah Cracknell (vocals); Ian Catt (guitar, keyboards, programming); Pete Wiggs (bongos); Bob Stanley (tambourine).
Audio Remasterer: Guy Davie.
Liner Note Author: Tom Ewing.
Photographer: Joe Dilworth.
Saint Etienne's kaleidoscopic 1991 debut, FOXBASE ALPHA, is one of the most influential albums in '90s dance music. While the rest of the U.K. was mired in a post-acid house Ecstasy hangover, the Northeast London trio of Sarah Cracknell, Bob Stanley, and Pete Wiggs married club rhythms to classic pop forms. The album's first two singles were covers of Neil Young's "Only Love Can Break Your Heart" and "Kiss and Make Up" by Sarah Records mainstays the Field Mice. Elsewhere, the album features esoteric sample loops like "Wilson," featuring samples from an old record about British currency decimalization, and "Etienne Gonna Die." There are also killer pop songs like the pounding "She's the One" and the lovely "Carnt Sleep." Cracknell's classic pop voice recalls Petula Clark, and Stanley and Wiggs are inventive arranger-producers. FOXBASE ALPHA is a dance-pop classic.
Entertainment Weekly (2/14/92, p.55) - "...a glitterting, kaleidoscopic set of dance tracks..." - Rating: B+
Q - One of Q Magazine's 50 best albums of 1991.
Alternative Press (7/95, p.116) - "...a pop odyssey generating inspired, witty music informed by the past, but built for the future..."
Melody Maker (12/91) - Ranked #17 in Melody Maker's list of the top 30 albums of 1991 - "...a dazzling diverse display of sampladelic imagination."
Q (Magazine) (p.139) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "Fusing '60s girl group pop with cut-ups and samples, their records reimagined Burt Bacharach as a house producer."
Pitchfork (Website) - "[A] UK indie pop record with a particularly unique sound and vision -- the joys and pangs of cusp-of-adulthood love and loss, delivered with a clued-in-ingenue mix of wide-eyed enthusiasm and knowing languor by Sarah Cracknell..."
Record Collector (magazine) (p.95) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "Ambient music holds a firm grip over many of the segues...the album's most famous for the pure sampleadelic pop of 'Nothing Can Stop Us'..."