Travel Edition 1990 – 2005

It’s hard to believe that Saint Etienne have been kicking around as long as the date on this album suggests, but even harder to believe is how many retrospectives and compilations they have in their discography. Travel Edition, a strictly limited to the U.S. release through Sub Pop, is the trio’s fourth, count it, fourth collection of their singles. Most bands twice their age haven’t even reached that pinnacle, but somehow Sarah Cracknell, Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs have not only pulled it off, but they’ve done it with class. Featuring a snappy sleeve with all of the vital discog details (less the comps, mind you), Travel Edition gathers all of the highs of their sparkling dance pop career. And there were certainly plenty of highs. "Only Love Can Break Your Heart” still charges away with that early ’90s club beat and Cracknell’s angelic voice melting Neil Young’s words, while "Lose That Girl” switches directions and conquers sweet ’60s pop. Some tunes haven’t aged as well as others, like the gay disco-heavy anthem "He’s On The Phone,” but still it represents a period in time where this band was in a separate class. The tracks lead all the way up to 2002’s Finisterre, which classifies it as the most up to date Saint Etienne collection. Yet without any exclusive tracks or a bonus CD of remixes (something they were always involved in), this is really only essential for newcomers. (Sub Pop)