english settlement

The October 2012 issue of ‘Record Collector’ magazine has a timely article about XTC’s 1982 album ‘English Settlement’ (Virgin).

Timely in that it’s a record with a distincitve Autumnal feel to it.

In the article, bassist Colin Moulding is quoted as saying he doesn’t remember much about the recording of the album.

But he does remember foggy nights at the Manor, Virgin’s studio in rural Oxfordshire, complete with autumn leaves, bangers going off around Bonfire Night and roaring log fires.

It’s the first XTC album I owned with its striking green sleeve and the White Horse of Uffington providing the ultimate logo – not bad for a piece of Bronze age art.

As is often the way with reading about music, I wanted to hear it.

So I dug out my cd copy of the record (the vinyl album long since foolishly dispensed with), and listened to it – all 15 tracks back to back.

And I enjoyed it so much, I listened to it again.

It helped that I was in the middle of the mother of all clear-outs, trying to reclaim a room filled with cds and books as a bedroom to actually sleep in.

I used to think it was a sprawling album, badly in need of editing down.

But to hear such creativity bursting out of the speakers just before the band folded as a live entity, I was reminded just how great Partridge, Moulding, Gregory and Chambers were as a unit.

The Old Grey Whistle Test performance of ‘Yacht Dance’ is one I remember seeing at the time – marvel at Andy Partridge giving the song his heart and soul.

XTC – Yacht Dance

XTC – All Of A Sudden

Chalkhills – The XTC Resource website

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