This is a Random Album Generator.
One album a day.
From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Foxbase Alpha

Saint Etienne

1991

Buy At Rough Trade
Foxbase Alpha
Album Summary

Foxbase Alpha is the debut studio album by English band Saint Etienne, released on 16 September 1991 by Heavenly Recordings.The album was recorded in a style which drew on the club culture and house music of the time, but also incorporates the group's characteristic love of 1960s pop, with tracks also bridged by samples from films or by short songs. At the time of recording, Sarah Cracknell was not fully part of the group, and as a result she does not sing on "Only Love Can Break Your Heart", which is sung by Moira Lambert. Foxbase Alpha was on the short list of nominees for the 1992 Mercury Prize. It was accompanied by several successful singles, including "Nothing Can Stop Us". The album was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Wikipedia

Rating

2.97

Votes

9780
Genres
Pop
Electronica
Indie

Reviews

Like a review? Give it a thumb up to help us display relevant reviews!
Sort by: Top Date
View Author
Mon Mar 08 2021
2

This album was ok. Do I think that it is one of the 1001 albums that I must listen to before I died? No. It was an ok album.

👍
View Author
Thu Aug 04 2022
5

Classic UK electronic pop album from the early nineties just like Screamadelica (1991) or The White Room (1992) or Blue Lines (1991) or Morning Dove White (1993). Has Saint Etienne ever made a bad album? (Tiger Bay should be on the list as well, and last year's I've Been Trying To Tell You was one of the best albums from 2022.) 5*, some favourite songs: She's The One and Like A Swallow. Apparently "Dazzle Ships" was a big inspiration for the album, but as always there are plenty of other music references as well (after all, Bob Stanley's "Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Story of Modern Pop" (2013) is one of the best books about popular music ever).

👍
View Author
Wed Dec 01 2021
4

Starting your album off with a cover? bold choice. Though its so transformational that its a nice setup for the rest of the album. Girl VII is infectious. I like Nothing Can Stop Us. Kiss And Make Up is fun as well.

👍
View Author
Fri Jan 29 2021
5

Felt like a mix of Massive Attack and Cocteau Twins. So basically I'm in love. Good to drive to btw.

👍
View Author
Wed Aug 17 2022
5

Love it! So quirky, joyful and upbeat, such intelligent use of the most obscure samples.

👍
View Author
Thu Nov 03 2022
5

The beginning of my love affair with Saint Etienne. A band that encompasses London and my years living there. House & club culture meets the sixties delivering epic coolness. This band make me happy every time I listen to them.

👍
View Author
Thu Nov 17 2022
5

I absolutely adore this album. Such a cool mix of 60s pop with trip hop and dub influences. The Neil Young cover is next level too.

👍
View Author
Wed Jun 16 2021
4

Never heard of these before but right up my street. Loved the ambient tracks, and the soundbites they drop in, not quite a 5, maybe a 4.5

👍
View Author
Wed Jun 16 2021
4

Loved this, a enjoyable mix of ambience and almost dancy eletronica. Quite alternative too. Would listen again!

👍
View Author
Sat Jul 24 2021
4

What a fun mix of electronic and house with r&b singing and pop structures. I abs love the vibe the album brings. Very underrated pop album from the UK props. 8/10

👍
View Author
Sun Aug 22 2021
4

Loved this! Well outside the sort of thing I would have searched for and that’s why I love this generator! Really cool, laid back chilled tunes! Definitely to be bought! I’ll recommend to everyone and they’ll get even sicker of me than normal but it’s only fair! Tremendous album!

👍
View Author
Wed Sep 08 2021
4

Cool beats and samples make for a chill listen to work or relax to. Some euro club vibes at times mixed with light pop lyrics. Only love can beak your heart, Spring, people get real. 3.5

👍
View Author
Wed Jul 13 2022
4

Well I am very impressed by this. Having heard this, I wonder why dub indie wasn't a bigger subgenre. The bassy, echoey production against Sarah Cracknell's none more Felt Records voice is a lovely contrast (and one I didn't think happened until the late 90s). It also zips past faster than its 50 minutes would suggest. Like a dubby bubble bath.

👍
View Author
Thu Sep 15 2022
4

"Foxbase Alpha" is the debut album from the English band Saint Etienne although their name was taken from the French football team AS Saint-Étienne. Their style of music is described as a combination of club culture and house music with 1960's pop. That's fair enough. I also heard elements of trip hop, straight-forward pop and similarities in certain songs to bands such as New Order, Everything But The Girl and Spandau Ballet. The band cited OMD's "Dazzle Ship" as a major influence. The band consists of Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs both on the synthesizers and other instruments and Sarah Cracknell who would eventually become a full-time band member and vocalist during the recording. This is a pretty good album and at times great. One of its strengths was kind of changing tempos and beats over the album length. I think if the music would have stayed with same beat it would have gotten quite boring. It was on the short list for the 1982 UK Mercury Prize for best album. The album begins with a TV or radio show or movie dialogue in French and the song "This is Radio Etienne." This leads into their cover of Neil Young's "Only Love Can Break Your Heart." An interesting cover choice but it works. They changed the time to 4/4 (more fast paced) from the orginal Waltz and also the chord progression. It is defintely more poppy. A driving piano and Moira Lambert was the lead singer, not Sarah Cracknell at this point. A first -half album highlight is "Girl VII" with its bongos and other percussion. The first heavier dance-oriented song on the album. Sarah Cracknell's vocals give it a dreamy atmosphere which is common on a lot of these songs. I Iiked the album second half better than the first. "People Get Real" reminded me a lot of New Order. A nice pop song and melody. A softer dance beat. "Nothing Can Stop Us" was the third album single and is the most soulful song on the album. It also has a great groove and is a happy sounding song. It samples Dusty Springfield's "I Can't Wait Until I See My Baby's Face." "Kiss and Make Up" was the second single. Another cover...this time of a Field Mice song. I guess piano-driven house music is an apt description. A weird synth start. A great dance-pop beat. Cracknell's sultry vocals. Probably my favorite song on the album. Saint Etienne was much bigger in the UK than the US. I had not heard them much. I enjoyed this album and will give some of their other albums a listen. I liked their variety kind of within their own style and their musical influences are bands that I am a fan of.

👍
View Author
Fri Nov 11 2022
4

Fun, fun, fun. They don’t make ‘em like this any more. Mainly because it’s not worth the hassle of clearing that many samples these days. I really like the juggling of pop sophistication with other, more down-home, pop culture references. An excellent pop album. Only ‘Swallow’, which seemed to really go against the prevailing mood and was a little jarring to these ears in context, stopped this being a full 5 stars.

👍
View Author
Tue Oct 06 2020
3

90s synth + 60s pop = this album. Atmospheric feel that is mostly pleasant and sometimes jarring. Inoffensive and safe. Best track: People Get Real.

👍
View Author
Mon Jan 18 2021
3

While I do like dance rock, synthpunk and electronic music in general, I've never gotten into house or trance music. I certainly enjoyed the vibe on a few songs but a lot of times it got a little too club for me. It wasn't unlistenable techno thumping though so I can appreciate their "club, without going too hard" sensibilities. I do enjoy a band finding success going against the grain though. Especially because I'm not a huge fan of the 90s Britpop scene. So way to stick it to them Saint Etienne.

👍
View Author
Sat May 08 2021
3

Saved Prior: None Off Rip: Only Love Can Break Your Heart, Girl VII, Spring, Kiss and Make Up Cutting Edge: Carnt Sleep, People Get Real Overall Notes: Not at all what I expected based on the album cover and the reputation this album has. Was expecting some kind of twee pop stuff but it was actually some decent dance music instead. Don't understand the polarizing reviews of this album compared to something like Screamadelica getting rave reviews. I know it came after but I liked this one more. The first half was on a strong four trajectory, but it lost steam as it went along. Cut like 3 or 4 songs and it's a 4.

👍
View Author
Thu May 20 2021
2

This is just so entirely not my cup of tea. The English are so fucking hit or miss, nothing in between. Just so stupidly precious and unnecessary. 2 stars because it's more tolerable than Anthrax.

👍
View Author
Mon Jul 26 2021
2

Music for student bedwetters- hot singer with not so hot tunes. Every time I thought it was getting better something rubbish would come along. Not irredeemable but will never be back. 1991 - what a year for music

👍
View Author
Fri Oct 08 2021
2

Bread pudding as croquembouche.

👍
View Author
Thu Nov 05 2020
5

Sarah Cracknell, Pete Wiggs and Bob Stanley. What a legendary trio and everything they've ever touched is brilliant. This might be my favourite Saint Etienne album. Think it's been 4 years now since i saw them in Leamington doing their Foxbase Alpha tour. What a brilliant concert. Played this album from start to finish. It has the perfect balance of different genres. There's a bit of trip hop, dub, "britpop" (before it existed as a term) and electronic/dance/house. Also, it's got the best cover ever; Only love can break your heart. Fun fact: the girl featured on the album cover (not a part of the band) can also be seen in Pulps video for their song Babies. Oh, and if you haven't already, check out at least these albums by this very same band: So Tough, Sound Of Water, Tiger Bay and Good Humor.

👍
View Author
Wed Mar 10 2021
5

Muy bonito álbum, siento que desde que empezó la primera canción, tras el intro radiofónico, supe que esto era para mí. No conocía a Saint Etienne o al menos no consciente y este es un disco debut buenazo. También suena mucho a los 90 y de repente es ternura, de repente es etéreo, de repente es tranquilizante. Eso de poner canciones instrumentales por ahí intercaladas es un recurso que me gusta y "Stoned to Say the Least" me gustó, si bien creo que se descoloca un poco respecto al resto. Canciones fav: "Only Love Can Break Your Heart", "Wilson", "Girl VII", "Nothing Can Stop Us" y "Kiss and Make Up" <3. 9.5/10

👍
View Author
Wed Mar 10 2021
5

Me gustó bastante. La combinación del house con influencias del pop retro resulta tanto etérea como fácilmente consumible. Un disco conciliador entre los sonidos mainstream de épocas pasadas y la integración de los sonidos populares en la EDM noventera del rave. Tiene un buen balance entre las composiciones minimalistas y algunas más robustas con vocales incluso. Disfruté sobre todo la ondita techno-house de Stoned to say the Least y la vibra etérea de cualquier pop indie posterior a los 2000 meets 80s Madonna en Girl VII. Mood: Un día de buen humor y parsimonia.

👍
View Author
Thu Aug 05 2021
5

What a treat. I have to admit I was a fan, mostly stemming from this, their best album. Just a bunch of well-worn, perfect vibes.

👍
View Author
Fri Nov 12 2021
5

Way better than expected. Great production, lots of color.

👍
View Author
Wed Jan 19 2022
5

Where have you been all my life? Music to soothe the savage beast.

👍
View Author
Sun Mar 20 2022
5

Normally music from this era sounds to me like it is missing soemthing, but this was qctually great. Fun beats, just the right track length, interesting all the way through

👍
View Author
Mon Jul 11 2022
5

The 2k French triphop sound this album has is soooo dope. I live for "Kiss and Make Up". Gonna make that my alarm for a while, actually ;3;

👍
View Author
Thu Oct 20 2022
5

A fun sexy time. New contender for “just play it on loop”

👍
View Author
Wed Nov 02 2022
5

I didn't know this group and I really enjoyed it.

👍
View Author
Mon Dec 12 2022
5

really enjoyed this - didnt think I would but right up my alley

👍
View Author
Fri Jan 13 2023
5

Not something I'd ever heard of before, but I love it. Was hooked from the first track. Adding this into my driving and work rotation for when I need something chilled. Exactly the reason I love this generator as I would never have heard this normally. 5*

👍
View Author
Sun Jan 22 2023
5

an old and forgotten favorite

👍
View Author
Tue Aug 01 2023
5

This is short, but brilliant. I'd not have guessed that this would have gone back as far as 1991 - it's doing things that I'd assumed would have been a few years (at least) later, and it does them well. Top notch.

👍
View Author
Thu Sep 07 2023
5

Can I have one of these, one of these, and two of those please. Come on auntie we'll miss the bus! I forgot the two long (mostly) instrumentals on here that sort of don't belong but also kind of do. Like the Swallow turns into MBV almost. Album as a whole is not what I think of when I think St Etienne but it's kind of better for it, and shows they didn't just make fantastic cheesy pop like You're in a Bad Way or He's on the Phone. Nothing Can Stop Us Now fulfils that here, and is right up there with their best. Pleased to note that Spotify have only partially carried out Neil's writ. Makes me want to go listen to So Tough and Good Humor. Did in fact stick So Tough on straight afterwards, classic two sides of a C90. I wonder which two songs I dropped to fit them on?

👍
View Author
Thu Sep 14 2023
5

Hört bara lite sporadiskt tidigare. Många vassa spår.

👍
View Author
Tue Nov 07 2023
5

St etienne are one of those bands i never got round to actually listening to so this is the impetus to go and do that as this is pretty bloody good.

👍
View Author
Thu Dec 28 2023
5

It is a very interesting album actually.

👍
View Author
Sun Dec 31 2023
5

I loved it, never heard it before at all. Just fantastic, absolutely will circle back in this again.

👍
View Author
Fri Feb 16 2024
5

Det her er virkelig lækkert, specielt "I carnt sleep", "Girl VII"

👍
View Author
Tue Sep 29 2020
4

Euphoric french house/downtempo electronic. Deep grooves that never overstay their welcome and a siren of a singer. Transcendent.

👍
View Author
Wed Jun 16 2021
4

I loved this album especially ‘would you like some sweets willy’ but it’s not a 5

👍
View Author
Wed Mar 10 2021
4

Me gustó, muy variadito y un mood como alegre (?) me dieron ganas de bailar y así.

👍
View Author
Tue May 25 2021
4

Surprisingly good, at the end it started faltering but it had a really interesting sound and I enjoyed it

👍
View Author
Tue Jun 15 2021
4

Fantastic rainy day album. Only love can break your heart. I feel that. Good stuff, getting added to my listening rotation for sure. Probably wouldn't have ever found it without this. GIVE ME MORE FLUTE, ya know?

👍
View Author
Fri May 14 2021
4

Solid European vibes. Easy to work to. Interesting vocal choices, intriguing decisions on the clips used between songs.

👍
View Author
Mon Jun 07 2021
4

I listened to this years ago and found it disappointing and boring. Now I like it.

👍
View Author
Tue Jul 27 2021
4

Don’t know what genre it is, but it’s so good.

👍
View Author
Fri Jun 04 2021
4

wikipedia said "trip-hop" and that was correct

👍
View Author
Fri Aug 06 2021
4

This is a great album, i could see me playing it in the background while cleaning or painting or something, very soothing, very catchy. I recalled a couple of the songs and loved the overall sound of the album

👍
View Author
Tue Aug 17 2021
4

Quite enjoyed the relaxed vibe

👍
View Author
Sat Aug 28 2021
4

7/10 fav track: Only love can break your heart

👍
View Author
Mon Aug 30 2021
4

Very interesting album, very fun and enjoyable to listen to. Now what I imagined it would sound like looking at the Album cover

👍
View Author
Thu Sep 02 2021
4

Great, but I feel like I'm too stupid to be able to tell what "good" is. One minute felt like elevator music and the next felt like the ancestor to the Jet Set Radio soundtrack.

👍
View Author
Fri Sep 03 2021
4

I've heard the name Saint Etienne, but I had to look it up to see if it was a single person or a band. I enjoyed the recommendation. The album sounded different than stuff I would normally listen to, but with some overlap to music that I choose to listen to. "People Get Real" and "London Belongs to Me" were the tracks that stood out most as something I would listen to again. Perhaps the difficulty in trying to decide if I would play this album again is a sign that I should bump this album up above a simple "it was okay." There wasn't anything that I wanted to skip, and I am a little curious if there is anything more I might discover on a second listen.

👍
View Author
Wed Oct 06 2021
4

Smooth indie pop, nice to listen

👍
View Author
Wed Oct 20 2021
4

Ret fint pop album med lækker lyd. Kan dog gort tendere til kedeligt. Men kunne måske vokse på en

👍
View Author
Wed Oct 27 2021
4

It's an easy listen nit to bad

👍
View Author
Sun Jan 09 2022
4

I liked this album its smooth and beautifully produced. The dance tracks are infectious and the slower tracks are compelling. 3.75 🌟

👍
View Author
Wed Feb 09 2022
4

very good trip hop album, good melodies, interesting vibe, nice vocal, it reminds me of other good bands of this genre

👍
View Author
Wed Feb 16 2022
4

For some reason I thought Saint Etienne were Belle & Sebastien-adjacent twee guitar pop, so I was quite surprised to hear a downtempo electro album. Yeah, I can get on with this. Probably would have enjoyed discovering this in the early 2000s quite a lot. Fave track - "Stoned to Say the Least", perhaps. "Only Love Can Break Your Heart" is a tune too, and I think the only track I'd heard before...

👍
View Author
Wed Feb 16 2022
4

Lo-fi-ish but from an earlier time.

👍
View Author
Thu Mar 10 2022
4

First 4 songs have a lot of talking, but the rest of the album is excellent electronica.

👍
View Author
Sun Apr 17 2022
4

Ekta Saint Etienne. Pínu skrýtin en með skemmtilegt flæði.

👍
View Author
Wed May 11 2022
4

Sampled music, only knew 'Only Love Can Break Your Heart' but theres some good other songs here. Liked.

👍
View Author
Wed Jun 22 2022
4

Alternative dancetrip hop. Francesa. Está chulo.

👍
View Author
Thu Jun 30 2022
4

This was pretty interesting. Something I hadn't heard before.

👍
View Author
Wed Jul 27 2022
4

Overall 7/10 Only Love Can Break Your Heart 10/10

👍
View Author
Fri Sep 02 2022
4

This was an enjoyable listen - reminding me of something I’d hear in a cool lounge… nice dance vibe with a retro feeling that I quite liked. Great to have on while I went about my routine!

👍
View Author
Fri Sep 02 2022
4

This was nice to listen to. Good accompaniment for working.

👍
View Author
Fri Sep 02 2022
4

I really liked this. Definitely a group I've never even heard of before, and I was very surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Slow and easy listen, but never feels too simplistic. Good stuff

👍
View Author
Sun Sep 25 2022
4

Aw yeah, this is my jam. The vibes of this really take me back. Big nostalgia feels with this one. And it's so great to finally know who did that song I've heard a billion times and stuck in my brains but I never knew who it was (Only Love Can Break Your Heart)

👍
View Author
Thu Sep 29 2022
4

Me gustó bastante. La combinación del house con influencias del pop retro resulta tanto etérea como fácilmente consumible. Un disco conciliador entre los sonidos mainstream de épocas pasadas y la integración de los sonidos populares en la EDM noventera del rave. Tiene un buen balance entre las composiciones minimalistas y algunas más robustas con vocales incluso. Disfruté sobre todo la ondita techno-house de Stoned to say the Least y la vibra etérea de cualquier pop indie posterior a los 2000 meets 80s Madonna en Girl VII. Mood: Un día de buen humor y parsimonia.

👍
View Author
Wed Oct 19 2022
4

I have thus one on vinyl. I don't love it as much as I used to do. Nothing can Stop us is ace. The retro feel stop it aging. Is is twee at times by the melancholy balances it out. Though it was going to be a 3 but I've fallen in love with it again. 4.

👍
Load more reviews