Sound of Water

  • Record Label: Sub Pop
  • Release Date: Jun 6, 2000

Generally favorable reviews - based on 14 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 14
  2. Negative: 0 out of 14
  1. These ten tracks come with such an earnest passion for the timeless pop form that any snobbery is punctured with an arrow drawn straight from Cupid's quiver.
  2. The songs flow effortlessly along, and even the instrumental tracks are fully developed-- none suffer from the half-finished feel that made Places to Visit so dissatisfying.... As with past Saint Etienne albums, Sound of Water is ear-candy all the way through. Still, they've managed to add a layer of subtlety and novelty beneath the glossiness...
  3. Although Sound of Water, Saint Etienne's fifth album, may not be as overtly clever as 1991's Foxbase Alpha or as thematically consistent as 1998's Good Humor, it is as subtle as an Antonio Carlos Jobim tune and as mysteriously satisfying as a lazy summer night.
  4. There are moments of pop pleasure here, surrounded by spare, languid electronica sections, vaguely reminiscent of the High Llamas.
  5. This is a quietly adventurous coming of age, as languorous and fuzzy around the edges as a summer afternoon.
  6. They've made a dreamy set suffused with synth bleeps and strings, nodding to Eno, Abba, and U.K. electro-soul peers Everything but the Girl.
  7. A wonderfully ambient collection of 10 songs
  8. 80
    There are few big drum samples or disco beats on Sound of Water; as its title suggests, it's far more fluid and sensuous than any music the group has made before.
  9. 80
    But unlike the band's overbearing forays into trip-hop and dub before, a new level of soul and texture emerge from Saint Etienne's neo-modernist stylings.
  10. 80
    There's still a warm heart beating under all this newly-assembled machinery.
  11. Saint Etienne has made an egregiously Cardigans-esque wrong turn, abandoning impeccable craft and Motown melodies for the breezy if aimless experimentation of its wildly uneven EPs.
  12. Magnet
    Saint Etienne's latest album is masterful: fanatically detailed, intelligent and swimming in lovely melodies and delicious electronic bleeps... easily one of the year's standout albums. [#46, p.90]
  13. Spin
    Every twinkling ambient moment is remarkably humane.
  14. Puncture
    This recording finds Saint Etienne a slower, gentler band--not nearly as shaken or stirred as past incarnations, but fuller and more vital-sounding than before. While some of The Sound of Water misses the mark, the songs that hit are great enough to make you jelly-kneed. [#47, p.51]

Awards & Rankings

User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 5 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. johnj
    Jul 21, 2007
    What a gorgeous and sophisticated pop album. Saint Etienne's best album, by far.
  2. robd
    Mar 18, 2005
    Very good. Their most sonically adventurous effort since So tough, although it reuires more attention. One of their best.