Tales from Turnpike House

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Tales from Turnpike House
Studio album by Saint Etienne
Released 13 June 2005 (2005-06-13)
Recorded 2005
Genre Alternative dance, dream pop, synthpop
Length 44:11
Label Sanctuary
Producer Ian Catt, Saint Etienne, Xenomania
Saint Etienne chronology
Travel Edition 1990–2005
Tales from Turnpike House
Nice Price
Singles from Tales from Turnpike House
  1. "Side Streets"
    Released: 6 June 2005 (2005-06-06)
  2. "A Good Thing"
    Released: 31 October 2005 (2005-10-31)
  3. "Stars Above Us"
    Released: 28 February 2006 (2006-02-28)
Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 79/100[1]
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[2]
The A.V. Club A−[3]
Entertainment Weekly B+[4]
The Guardian 5/5 stars[5]
Los Angeles Times 3.5/4 stars[6]
Pitchfork Media 7.8/10[7]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[8]
Slant Magazine 3.5/5 stars[9]
Spin 6/10[10]
Stylus Magazine A−[11]

Tales from Turnpike House is the seventh studio album by English alternative dance band Saint Etienne. It is a concept album in which the songs depict characters who all live in the eponymous block of flats in London.


The exact setting of the stories told by the album's setting is somewhat amorphous. The real Turnpike House is a high-rise block of flats in Goswell Road, EC1, an area of ex-council blocks between Clerkenwell and Upper Street. The band had spent a lot of time in Turnpike House, as filmmaker Paul Kelly lived there during the period in which they were collaborating on What Have You Done Today, Mervyn Day?.[12] However, Sarah Cracknell has said that the building imagined in the album is "not nearly as smart" as the real Turnpike House.[12] Bob Stanley has said that he imagined the album's setting to be more suburban, "probably somewhere like Croydon or possibly Ponders End".[12] Pete Wiggs has said that his experience of living in Croydon was the inspiration for "Side Streets" and "Slow Down at the Castle" (the Castle is a water tower in Park Hill Recreation Ground).[12] However, the title of "The Birdman of EC1" refers to the postal district in which the real Turnpike House is located.


The album features two tracks co-written and produced by Xenomania ("Lightning Strikes Twice" and "Stars Above Us") as well as a guest vocal from 1970s pop star David Essex on "Relocate" (Essex had earlier appeared on the Saint Etienne album So Tough via sampled dialogue from the 1973 film That'll Be the Day).


Tales from Turnpike House was released 13 June 2005 on Sanctuary Records and preceded by a single for "Side Streets" on 6 June 2005. In the United States, the album was released 24 January 2006 by Savoy Jazz. Initial quantities of the UK release came with a bonus EP of children's music titled Up the Wooden Hills. The band felt that music for young children under seven was fed into unexceptional pop music, and wanted to make music that children and parents could enjoy together.[citation needed] Double-disc editions of the US release included instead the Savoy Nu Groove Sampler, containing six tracks from various Savoy Jazz releases, including "Side Streets" from the album itself.

As part of the reissue programme of all Saint Etienne's albums, Tales from Turnpike House was re-released in a deluxe double CD edition featuring unreleased material and sleeve notes by Jeremy Deller in October 2010.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Sarah Cracknell, Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs, except where noted. 

UK edition
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Sun in My Morning"     2:41
2. "Milk Bottle Symphony"     4:03
3. "Lightning Strikes Twice"   Cracknell, Stanley, Wiggs, Xenomania 3:45
4. "Slow Down at the Castle"   Stanley, Wiggs 4:42
5. "A Good Thing"   Cracknell, Lawrence Oakley, Mark Waterfield 4:00
6. "Side Streets"     2:56
7. "Last Orders for Gary Stead"   Stanley, Wiggs 4:28
8. "Stars Above Us"   Cracknell, Stanley, Wiggs, Xenomania 3:24
9. "Relocate"   David Essex, Stanley, Wiggs 3:09
10. "The Birdman of EC1"   Stanley, Wiggs 2:47
11. "Teenage Winter"     5:45
12. "Goodnight"     2:31
  • The Japanese edition includes two B-sides from the "Side Streets" single in the middle of the track listing.
  • The US edition contains a considerably rearranged track listing, adding some songs while removing others. "I'm Falling" is a B-side from the second single, "A Good Thing".
  • The 2010 deluxe edition included the original UK release of the album and a second disc consisting of rare and unreleased material.


Saint Etienne
Additional personnel


Chart (2005–06) Peak
French Albums Chart[13] 174
UK Albums Chart[14] 72
US Top Electronic Albums[15] 10


  1. ^ "Tales From Turnpike House – Saint Etienne". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 1 June 2013. 
  2. ^ Kellman, Andy. "Tales from Turnpike House – Saint Etienne". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 1 June 2013. 
  3. ^ Bahn, Christopher (8 February 2006). "Saint Etienne: Tales From Turnpike House". The A.V. Club. Onion, Inc. Retrieved 1 June 2013. 
  4. ^ Greenblatt, Leah (6 February 2006). "Tales From Turnpike House (2006)". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved 1 June 2013. 
  5. ^ Lynskey, Dorian (10 June 2005). "St Etienne, Tales From Turnpike House". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 June 2013. 
  6. ^ Lechner, Ernesto (22 January 2006). "A beat on the future and on the past". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 1 June 2013. 
  7. ^ Abebe, Nitsuh (16 June 2005). "Saint Etienne: Tales From Turnpike House". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 1 June 2013. 
  8. ^ Relic, Peter (6 February 2006). "Saint Etienne: Tales From Turnpike House". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Archived from the original on 3 August 2009. Retrieved 1 June 2013. 
  9. ^ Jones, Preston (30 January 2006). "Saint Etienne: Tales From Turnpike House". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 1 June 2013. 
  10. ^ Matos, Michaelangelo (23 February 2006). "Saint Etienne, 'Tales From Turnpike House'". Spin. Buzz Media. Retrieved 1 June 2013. 
  11. ^ Oculicz, Edward (29 June 2005). "Saint Etienne – Tales From Turnpike House". Stylus Magazine. Retrieved 1 June 2013. 
  12. ^ a b c d Tales from Turnpike House (deluxe edition liner notes). Saint Etienne. Heavenly Records. 2010. HVNLP80CDDE. 
  13. ^ "Saint Etienne – Tales From Turnpike House" (in French). lescharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 31 May 2013. 
  14. ^ "SAINT ETIENNE". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 31 May 2013.  Note: Select "Albums" tab.
  15. ^ "Saint Etienne – Chart history: Dance/Electronic Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 31 May 2013.