Saturday, April 6, 2013

good humor

Saint Etienne found an organic new sound for the sophisticated retro dance grooves of this confessional pop confection.  After the commercial disappointment of 'Tiger Bay' the band felt the need to regroup.  Bob Stanley says:    "We got ahead of ourselves a bit. We should have done something more commercial...The only obvious thing we could've done was to release a follow-up to 'He's on the Phone'.   It was our biggest hit, and we didn't release another single for two and a half years. [Laughing] A bit stupid!"

'Good Humor' was recorded over two weeks at Tambourine Studios, Malmo, Sweden with the Cardigans' producer Tore Johansson.  The sessions featured Sarah Cracknell on vocals, cowbells, and Flying A; Bob Stanley on synthesisers, Rapmaster 2000, and Esquilax; and Pete Wiggs on synthesisers, and Tube Rotosphere; with Sven Andersson on saxophone; Ian Catt on pre-production; Debsey on backing vocals; Tore Johansson on production, bass guitar, string arrangements, harmonica, and klangspiel; Gerard Johnson on pre-production, piano, vibraphone, keyboards; Rasmus Kihlberg on drums; Mats Larsson on piano embellishments on 'Woodcabin'; Jens Lindgård on trombone; Petter Lindgård on trumpet; and Jez Williams on guitar.  

Cracknell says:   "We've always used computers and tapes in the past, but we've got a live band for this one. It's got a lot of soul. Quite upbeat, jazzy and funky. We're tired of people calling us 'kitsch' and 'twee' ...  You do get a different feeling from your atmosphere. When we record away [from home], we usually rent a flat and all live together and we're very focused ... When it came to 'Good Humor', that’s when we started working together. And we work really well as a team. 'Cause there’s no egos in our group. There’s no drummer, guitarist, bass player, blah blah, everyone just sticks in and out and plays different things. There’s no strict roles for each person. So with each song, I could write a bass line or I could write anything, really. It leaves a lot more scope for getting involved."

Stanley considers:   "We're conceptual in as much as we want each album to sound like a complete album, I suppose. I think, hopefully we managed that...I've always thought it was a positive for us that we aren't an organic group with five members, where the bassist wants to do his song on the album or whatever. We've been able to chop and change our sound whenever we wanted. You know, because we're not proper musicians. I read an interview with Justice the other day, and they were talking about, 'It's not about playing instruments, it's about having ideas', and I think that's obviously pretty much what we think as well. Having the right ideas is a different matter [laughs] ... A lot of it has to do with the production. The same reason we chose Tore is that we wanted to work with someone who was capable of making something that was quite minimal and clean-sounding yet expansive at the same time."

'Good Humor' went to seventy-five in Japan, fifty-one in Sweden, eighteen in the UK, and eleven in Norway. 

"Wood Cabin" – 4:07

"Sylvie" – 4:48
went to number twelve in the UK.

"Mr. Donut" – 3:34

"Lose That Girl" – 4:03

"The Bad Photographer" – 4:14
hit number twenty-seven in the UK.

"Postman" – 3:46

"Erica America" – 4:02

'Good Humor' 
full album:

01. Woodcabin - 00:00
02. Sylvie - 04:08
03. Split Screen - 08:57
04. Mr. Donut - 12:21
05. Goodnight Jack - 15:55
06. Lose That Girl - 20:32
07. The Bad Photographer - 24:36
08. Been So Long - 28:51
09. Postman - 32:24
10. Erica America - 36:11
11. Dutch TV - 40:13

'Fairfax High' was included as a bonus disk with early pressings of the album.  

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