Saint Etienne have announced details of Magpie Eyes, the first single to be taken from their forthcoming album, Home Counties, released on Heavenly Recordings on Friday 2nd June.
Talking about the track, Pete Wiggs of Saint Etienne said:
“The title was inspired by a book about Creation records ‘my Magpie Eyes are hungry for the prize’ which in turn was taken from ‘Up The Hill Down The Slope’ by The Loft. I often find myself being so deep in thought that I’m not really listening to what my children are saying to me and I extrapolated guilty feelings over that into the story of someone who for a combination of personal ambition and commuter journey time ends up missing out on his kids growing up and not really knowing them or the ‘Herberts’ they might be hanging out with.”
The album was produced by Shawn Lee of Young Gun Silver Fox, with support from Augustus (Kero Kero Bonito), Carwyn Ellis (Colorama, Edwyn Collins), Robin Bennett (The Dreaming Spires), Richard X (Girls On Top / Black Melody) and long-time collaborator Gerard Johnson (Denim, Yes). It was recorded in central London. Sarah, Bob and Pete commuted to the studio every day for six weeks. The cover of the album was designed by renowned artist Scott King (www.scottking.co.uk)
Saint Etienne grew up in the Home Counties and the sixteen new songs they have written about a day in the life of this doughnut of shires that ring the capital are punctuated by bursts of BBC radio to remind you what time it is, and all connected by train journeys – main lines, branch lines, commutes, escapes.
The love/hate relationship people have with ‘home’ is particularly acute in the Home Counties. Yet Saint Etienne understand that, if you squint, it could be almost utopian – here are the post-war new towns, much of the country’s modernist architecture, and the non-league football heroes of Sutton United, Leatherhead, Harlow Town. Three of the Beatles lived here. So did the Prodigy, the Zombies, Depeche Mode, Dr Feelgood and, naturally, Saint Etienne, small town groups looking to the capital but audibly inspired by municipal housing, box hedges and ring roads.
Saint Etienne have also announced a number of festival and headline shows over the summer, including a performance at the Royal Festival Hall in London, and a U.S. tour in the autumn.
Watch ‘Magpie Eyes’ here: