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So Tough by Saint Etienne
Released: Feb 1993
Label: Warner Bros.
With Sarah Cracknell adding her songwriting talents along with that heavenly retro vocal style, Saint Etienne avoided the dreaded sophomore slump on their second album. The opener is the sets finest cut -- "Mario's Cafe" is a sunny morning track that will last decades while "Hobart Paving" is a wistful ballad that plays like the theme to an old Julie Christie downer. The downside here is that Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs are still to thrilled with noodling around in the studio on cuts that would be b-sides to other bands. Saint Etienne would improve quality control greatly after this.
Nick Dedina