Sound of Water (2000) is an album by Saint Etienne. At the time of release, this album split the band's fanbase between those who preferred the more commercial song-based sound of Good Humor and singles like "You're in a Bad Way" and "He's on the Phone" from those who appreciated the band's new direction, which was more experimental in nature. Sound of Water was developed as Saint Etienne's ambient and trip hop statement.
The album's lead single was the sprawling, multi-movement "How We Used to Live," which was not edited down from its 9-minute running length for single release.
Their previous US release Places to Visit was clearly the beginning of this new direction. Many of the artists with whom they collaborated on that EP are present on Sound of Water.
During the group's tenure with Sub Pop (1998-2005), Saint Etienne released many albums. Places to Visit preceded Sound of Water. In turn, the label released Interlude a year afterwards. Interlude is an album of mostly b-sides from the Sound of Water singles, as well as a couple from the Good Humor era.
The album is one of the few releases on which the band did not collaborate with Ian Catt in some way. The album was co-produced by Gerard Johnson and had arrangements by To Rococo Rot and Sean O'Hagan. It was recorded at To Rococo Rot's studio, Amber Sound, in Berlin, Germany. The band have described the recording sessions as 'working in an airless, windowless oven'. The album and singles artwork were all designed by Julian Opie an artist famed for his portraits of the band Blur.