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Saint Etienne Casino Classics Review

Remix. Released 2012.  

BBC Review

There are some absolute corkers on this updated remix collection.

Ian Wade 2012

Saint Etienne reach the end of their back catalogue reissue/deluxe edition series with the release of Casino Classics, available alongside a re-release of Sarah Cracknell’s solo album Lipslide.

Originally released in 1996, Casino Classics collected all the rather fine remixes and re-dos of the band’s tunes. This being the 1990s, said cuts usually lurked as the fourth track on a CD single, or emerged on a remix EP that would test human endurance to its limit.

Bob, Pete and Sarah have always had a canny ear for remixers, and in exchange they are also happen to be a remixer’s dream, so it’s unsurprising that Saint Etienne come out of the enterprise very well. And this edition of Casino Classics has been rejigged to bring it relatively up to date.

Eight tracks have been replaced, and 2009’s Method of Modern Love is included. There’s nothing here from the band’s Words and Music… cycle; but as well as the standard double-disc set, there’s a new four-disc version offering more than 30 extra tracks.

All remix albums – from The Human League’s Love & Dancing through to Massive Attack’s No Protection, and more before and since – rely on the part the fan plays. Rarely do these collections cross over from the faithful to the mainstream, so the emphasis when compiling such a package must be on pleasing established audiences. Slapping together a load of brand-extending blandness simply doesn’t cut it.

Luckily, there are some absolute corkers here. Andrew Weatherall’s dub-up of Only Love Can Break Your Heart, Monkey Mafia’s big beat molestation of Filthy, and Broadcast’s spook-up of Angel are instant winners.

Elsewhere, the elegant drum’n’bass of The Sea by PFM and Two Lone Swordsmen’s wobble through Heart Failed shine brightly. And with Underworld, Aphex Twin, The Chemical Brothers, Masters at Work, Gordon King and Richard X also on board, it’s clear that quality control is assured.

Excellently, this fan’s treasure trove doesn’t sound dated, nor awkward. If you’ve already collected everything else that Saint Etienne have to offer, its acquisition is a no-brainer. And fence-sitters will get much out of cherry-picking the magic ahead of taking the plunge.

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