Foxbase Alpha by Saint Etienne


Foxbase Alpha is the first album by British band Saint Etienne, released in 1991.

The album was recorded in a style which is close to the house music sound of the time, but songs like "Nothing Can Stop Us" and "Wilson" display the group's characteristic love of 1960s pop and several samples. Longer songs like "Stoned to Say the Least" and "Like the Swallow" are reminiscent of ambient house akin to The Orb. Like its follow-up So Tough, Foxbase Alpha's songs are bridged by samples from films or by short songs. At the time of recording, Sarah Cracknell was not fully part of group, and as a result she does not sing on "Only Love Can Break Your Heart", which is sung by Moira Lambert.

Foxbase Alpha was and on the short list of nominees for the 1992 Mercury Prize.

The title of the album is a reference to the street name of the drug 5-Methoxy-diisopropyltryptamine in one of its freebase (smokeable) forms. The drug theme continues throughout the album, for example in "Wilson" the sample "LSD into pence" (originally to mean LSD as pre decimalisation £sd before the changes made by Harold Wilson) as LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide) being the new currency in clubs.