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XTC - English Settlement (2001) Retail CD
How many ways do i love this album? Well fifteen since i asked as that's the number of tracks on my vinyl LP version and unlike most double albums, indeed unlike most albums of any type there is.nt a weak track on English Settlement. It,s an unmitigated joy from beginning to end. On some days it,s even my favourite XTC album which when you consider they also released "Skylarking" and " Mummer" is saying something.
English Settlement came out in February 1982 but was preceded by the single "Senses Working Overtime" , one of three really terrific singles off this album. The others are the magnificentmore… "Ball And Chain" possibly my favourite XTC song ever and the rollicking and witty "No Thugs In Our House" ( which has even more resonance nowadays) but virtually every song on here could have been a single .
It is also the last album where XTC recorded as a four piece band .Terry Chambers , the bands percussionist was forced by the financial constraints placed on him by the bands lack of touring ( due to Andy Partridges nervous breakdown on their tour to promote the album) though he did play on some tracks on "Mummur".
Colin Moulding,s "Runaways" opens the album- a tale of a teenager fleeing home after paternal violence set to gulping percussion and anguished harmonies. Other Moulding tracks include the aforementioned "Ball And Chain" as rousing a pop song as has ever been written and the propulsive thumping but edgy discordant "Fly On The Wall". The worst and i,m using that in context , is "English Roundabout" but even that's an appealing quirky pop number.
Andy Partridge is really on the mettle here. There is no double album filler , instead there is that wondrous radio staple "Senses Working Overtime" ( why don,t they ever play any other tracks?) followed by "Jason And The Argonauts" - a song so wonderful with it,s tippling keyboards and skipping verses that it screams SINGLE! "Yacht Dance" is a frivolous jolly little song with rather twee lyrics but this then leads into the rather ominous "All Of A Sudden (It,s Too Late)". "Knuckle Down" is a call for an end to world conflict set to an addictive two note guitar refrain. "Nearly Africa " and "Melt The Guns" are arguably two of the weakest tracks on the album but are still mightier than most bands alleged strongest moments while the vivacious sexual politics of "Down In The Cockpit" ( double meaning there i feel) and the unusual almost poignant "Snowman" give the album a different kind of twist.
English Settlement is an apparently effortless subjugation of rock & pop that maintains a generic consistency while offering something different with every track. The effects are subtle while fitting seamlessly into the album whole.This would be admirable in a single album , in a double it,s truly staggering . English Settlement, is one of the great double albums, one of the great 80,s albums and one of the great English albums for make no mistake English Settlement but is unequivocally English....unequivocally XTC and is therefore essential.
|2||Ball And Chain|
|3||Senses Working Overtime|
|4||Jason And The Argonauts|
|5||No Thugs In Our House|
|7||All Of A Sudden (It's Too Late)|
|8||Melt The Guns|
|10||It's Nearly Africa|
|12||Fly On The Wall|
|13||Down In The Cockpit|
- XTC - English Settlement (2001) Retail CD
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- 20/10/08 by ssvril
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