The lyrical, soothing soundtrack of Foxbase Alpha has returned to heavy rotation on the iPod rescuing me from crowded subway trains and elevating me from a dense urban jungle to wide-open landscapes attached only to the distant horizon. Visions of green grass fields, late evening sunsets reflecting golden rays on my blank walls. This debut record by Brit pop sensation St. Etienne has been a favorite for over a decade. It only feels like the other day when I first heard the Neil Young cover and single Only love break your heart: a feel good song.

The trio, Bob Stanley, Pete Wiggs, and Sarah Cracknell have provided days if not weeks or months of springtime reflections and inspirations during the coldest of winter times. Now is the perfect time to return to their unpolished blend of genres reaching from 60s retro vibe to various forms of electronica. The combination ultimately elevates the sound and depth of U.K. pop music and an obvious standout from the American counterpoint of the early 90s.

With a variety of tempos and flows, some instrumental, St. Etienne takes you through a journey of beautiful silhouettes and details like racing to catch a elongated shadow from the late after Spring sun or simply allowing the sun to wash all over you in mid day.

Lyrics are dreamy romantic and given life by lead singer Sarah Cracknell; her voice described as waifish, but juxtaposed perfectly with the syncopated beats and bass rhythm. The feeling is comfortable. There are synthesizers and drum machines; and spotted throughout the record are odd samples. Some of you will make the connection with De la Souls three feet high and rising; they both shared a sampled beat from Wilson Picket doing a cover of the Beatles Hey Jude. St. Etienne uses it in track Wilson and the hip-hop innovators use it in the interlude Transmitting live from Mars.

St. Etienne reminds me of my struggles for clarity and definition; searching for a classification of style, purpose, and vision. Ultimately the answer and reality is either an unclassifiable expression or a total mixture of various schools of thoughts, designs, genres, and sects. That expression or mixture sustained in a beautiful harmony and balance.

The spring connection obviously comes from the song, Spring. Yes this is the birth and this connection. Perhaps it come from the loves and imagined loves of the past, of heartbreaks and end of school breakups that never survive the blazing heat of the oncoming summer. From danceable hits such as Nothing can stop us now and Girl VII to the rather tame electronic adventure of Stoned to say the least, this record provides a wonderful blend of variations and breaks the status quo of mainstream pop music.