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Saint Etienne: Palladium, London

Dorian Lynskey, The Guardian, 16 December 2003

IN ANOTHER LIFE, Saint Etienne are pop royalty. In this one they practice a kind of pop-not-pop: exquisitely crafted and arranged songs that are always either too arch, too retro or too odd to take their rightful place in the top 10. Nevertheless, some people would argue that everything great about pop music is distilled into the single euphoric "Yes!" in the chorus of 'He's on the Phone', and all of them are at this one-off Christmas show. Based on audience reaction, every song could have been an international No 1.

Total word count of piece: 340


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