Saint Etienne
"Tales From Turnpike House" - Savoy Jazz
CD Roundup by Jim Fusili
Younger Artists, Boomer Appeal

This veteran U.K. trio has morphed into a stylish pop group, blending gentle rhythms with acoustic guitars and vocal harmonies reminiscent of the kind Brian Wilson writes, a claim made by many contemporary bands that's rarely true. Sarah Cracknell is at the center of the sweet sound, easing into her vocals, never rushing things, even when the heavy beats recall Saint Etienne's earlier disco days. Stories about the comings and goings in an apartment complex are enriched by flutes, strings, chiming guitars and always interesting arrangements. A mature, confident recording that demands a review of the group's earlier work. It was released on Tuesday.