The latest in the popular “Saint Etienne Present” series – soundtracks for places both real and imaginary. This time, Sarah Cracknell, Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs have put together a selection to fit a bar in mid-70s Los Angeles, the kind of place where Warren Beatty and Julie Christie might meet in the afternoon for a secret rendezvous between shooting scenes for Shampoo.
There’s a high quotient of airy, top-down soul, FM yacht rock, and an even larger amount of blue-eyed soul, with the odd singer-songwriter from Laurel Canyon making an appearance. Familiar summer sounds come from Todd Rundgren (‘Love Is The Answer’), Millie Jackson (‘A House For Sale’) and Seals & Crofts (‘Get Closer’). Among the discoveries are Daryl Hall & John Oates’ deep cut ‘Lilly (Are You Happy)’; Bill Quateman’s irresistible acoustic guitar and string-powered ‘Only Love’; Marvin Gaye’s gorgeous ‘Where Are We Going?’, from the period between “What’s Going On” and “Let’s Get It On”; and the £100 crossover soul gem ‘One Way Or The Other’ by the Fifth Avenue Band. These gems are the kind of thing Netflix will be tripping over themselves to use next season.
Amid the potted palms, the pace is strictly mid-tempo. The windows are wide open, the sky is a clear blue, and this is the perfect summer soundtrack. Warren’s drinking a Tom Collins, Julie’s having a Sloe Gin Fizz (she’s too English to ask for a Slow Screw). Amid the potted palms, the pace is strictly mid-tempo; it’s too warm for anything faster. It’s the right place and the right time to take your time.