Though 2017 is only halfway through, a short list of long players have emerged as likely album-of-the-year contenders. Near the top of the pack is Saint Etienne’s recently released Home Counties, which my Albumism colleague Quentin Harrison dubbed “a timely salve of an album, one that has Saint Etienne reaching back (and out) to the British suburban plains to show that the soul of England lives not just in London, but in its surrounding locales too.”
The trio of Bob Stanley, Pete Wiggs and Sarah Cracknell are no strangers to translating their affection for their native stomping grounds to film, as evidenced by their cinematic collaborations with director Paul Kelly including Finisterre (2002), What Have You Done Today, Mervyn Day? (2005), This Is Tomorrow (2007), and How We Used to Live (2014). So it should come as no surprise that the group’s newly released video for Home Counties standout “Magpie Eyes” captures the understated charms of growing up in Stevenage, a town situated 34 miles due north of London in the county of Hertfordshire. Directed by Tash Tang, the video portrays a day in the life of three teenagers, presumably intended to represent Stanley, Wiggs and Cracknell during their younger years.
Watch the visuals for “Magpie Eyes” below, and if you appreciate the good things in life, pick up a copy of Home Counties now. Saint Etienne rarely tour the U.S., but they’re set to play a handful of stateside dates in late September through early October, so check them out in a town near you.