Side Streets is the sedate lead-in to Sarah Cracknell and co's first album in three years, the concept record Tales From Turnpike House, which tells of a day of life in and around a London tower block.
The music of Side Streets is deliberately relaxing as it flaunts the effortlessly glamourous trademark Saint Etienne vibe. With sedate backing vocal harmonies, summery acoustic guitar and a jazzy beat that sashays along like Sade's Smooth Operator, it's musically closer to the Cote d'Azur than Clerkenwell Road.
The quirks are in the lyrics rather than the music. This part of the Turnpike House story is all about choosing to walk along side streets despite the press's scaremongering over crime. With two elegant fingers raised to the Daily Mail, Sarah breezes through her neighbourhood: "I'll walk the side streets home, even if I'm on my own. If I let myself believe all the badness and all the stories, I wouldn't set a foot outside." Timely, incisive and pristine.