Andy Partridge's discovery of the 12-string guitar set the tone for English Settlement, an album that moved away from the pop gloss of Black Sea in favor of lighter, though still rhythmically heavy, acoustic numbers with more complex and intricate instrumentation. There are plenty of pop gems -- "Senses Working Overtime" stands as one of their finest songs -- but the main focus seems to be the more expansive sound; most of the songs are drawn out to near-epic length, ultimately taking some of the impact of the songs away. Despite several terrific tracks, English Settlement seems more a transitional album than anything else, although the textural sound of the album is quite remarkable, indicating the direction they would take in their post-touring incarnation.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Chris Woodstra