Originally developed as a high-concept visual counterpart to Saint Etienne's Finisterre album, this expanded "hymn to London" should've been left as dreamy projections used solely to accompany the trip-pop outfit's live club shows. Though they describe it as a "mental map" that covers "an imaginary 24 hours in London," Finisterre is actually a full hour of grainy, disconnected images of umbrellas, tube stations, dilapidated buildings and walking feet, set to a soundtrack of ambient Saint Etienne tunes and horribly poncey narration about "the London nobody knows" by a dude who sounds like a second-rate BBC news reporter.
It's all rather dull, like a takeoff on Peter Greenaway's The Falls devoid of po-faced satire. The only thing that livens up the mix is a series of voice-over snippets from men and women who describe their complex relationships with the city. Who, you ask? Apparently, everyone from rediscovered spiritual folkie Vashti Bunyan to author Shena Mackay weighs in, but you wouldn't know it since nobody bothers to identify the speakers. You'd be better off buying the album and making up your own mental pictures.