English Settlement

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English Settlement
XTC English Settlement.jpg
Studio album by XTC
Released 12 February 1982
Recorded October – November 1981
Studio The Manor, Shipton-on-Cherwell, Oxfordshire, England

72:22 (Standard Version)

48:50 (Single LP Version)
Label Virgin
Producer Hugh Padgham, XTC
XTC chronology
Black Sea
English Settlement
Singles from English Settlement
  1. "Senses Working Overtime"
    Released: 8 January 1982
  2. "Ball and Chain"
    Released: 26 February 1982
  3. "No Thugs in Our House"
    Released: 14 May 1982

English Settlement is the fifth studio album by the English band XTC, released on 12 February 1982, and their first double album. The album reached No. 5 on the UK Album Chart for an 11-week chart stay,[1] and No. 48 on the Billboard 200 album chart for a 20-week stay.[2]

Its music style marked a turn toward more pastoral pop songs, with more use of acoustic guitar and fretless bass. In many countries outside the UK, the album was first released as a single LP, with five tracks deleted. However, this version was discontinued not long after release. The record spawned three UK singles: "Senses Working Overtime" (No. 10); "Ball and Chain" (No. 58); and "No Thugs in Our House".


The cover design is based upon the Uffington White Horse in southwest Oxfordshire, which is about 8 miles east of Swindon, Wiltshire, XTC's home town.

For English Settlement, XTC became their own producers.[3] Bandleader Andy Partridge figured: "We did a couple of albums with Steve Lillywhite as producer and Hugh Padgham as engineer and we twigged that it was Hugh who was getting all the great sounds and we were making the music, so what did we need Lillywhite for?"[3] He also believed that "if I wrote an album with a sound less geared towards touring then maybe there would be less pressure to tour."[4] Padgham was thus given a producer credit alongside XTC.

Compared to the band's previous albums, English Settlement showcased more complex and intricate arrangements.[5][6] Song lengths were longer and subject matter covered broader social issues.[7] Much of the new material featured acoustic instruments, a reflection of Partridge's newfound interest in 12-string guitar,[6] Guitarist Dave Gregory also bought a Rickbenbacker 12-string and began contributing to the group as a keyboardist.[8] His first piano contribution was on the introduction of "Respectable Street" (from 1981's Black Sea), and for the English Settlement sessions, he played keyboards on the outtake "Blame the Weather", which was relegated to a B-side.[9]

The song "English Roundabout" is a rare example of popular music written in the unusual 5
time signature.[10]

Release and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[11]
Chicago Tribune3/4 stars[7]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music3/5 stars[12]
Q4/5 stars[14]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars[15]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide2/5 stars[16]
Smash Hits8½/10[17]
The Village VoiceB+[18]

In February 1982, English Settlement was released as the group's first double album.[8] Both the album and lead single "Senses Working Overtime" became the highest-charting records they would ever have in the UK, peaking at number five and number 10, respectively.[5][8] In several territories outside the UK, the album was released as a single LP.[19]

The album was previewed with a live performance on The Old Grey Whistle Test program in January where they performed "Yacht Dance" (their only performance of the song) and "No Thugs In Our House". They also made a live appearance on The Oxford Road Show performing "Snowman", "Ball and Chain" and "Jason and the Argonauts".

Promotional videos were created for "Senses Working Overtime", "No Thugs in Our House", "All of a Sudden (It's Too Late)" and "Ball and Chain".

Only nine full shows were performed on the proposed 1982 English Settlement World Tour due to Partridge's collapsing at Le Palace in Paris, France on 18 March (during the first song in their set) and subsequent breakdown after their performance at The California Theatre, San Diego, California, U.S.A. on 3 April. This would prove to be XTC's last full show; the band abandoned the next night's show in Los Angeles.[20]

Track listing[edit]

Original UK double album[edit]

All tracks written by Andy Partridge, except those marked with (*), which are by Colin Moulding.

Side one
1."Runaways" (*)4:34
2."Ball and Chain" (*)4:32
3."Senses Working Overtime"4:50
4."Jason and the Argonauts"6:07
Side two
1."No Thugs in Our House"5:09
2."Yacht Dance"3:56
3."All of a Sudden (It's Too Late)"5:21
Side three
1."Melt the Guns"6:34
3."It's Nearly Africa"3:55
4."Knuckle Down"4:28
Side 4
1."Fly on the Wall" (*)3:19
2."Down in the Cockpit"5:27
3."English Roundabout" (*)3:59

Single LP worldwide version[edit]

Released in much of the world in 1982.

Side one
1."Runaways" (*)4:32
2."Ball and Chain" (*)4:28
3."Senses Working Overtime"4:50
4."Jason and the Argonauts"6:05
Side two
1."Melt the Guns"6:31
2."No Thugs in Our House"5:08
3."It's Nearly Africa"3:53
4."English Roundabout" (*)3:37
5."All of a Sudden (It's Too Late)"5:19




  • Hugh Padgham – backing vocals on "Ball and Chain"
  • Hans de Vente – backing vocals on "It's Nearly Africa"



Year Chart Position Citation
1982 UK Official Charts 5 [1]
1982 US Billboard 200 48 [2]
1982 Canada RPM Top 50 15 [21]


  1. ^ a b "UK Official Charts: English Settlement". Official Charts Company. 2017. Retrieved 27 February 2017. 
  2. ^ a b "Billboard 200: XTC". Billboard. 2017. Retrieved 27 February 2017. 
  3. ^ a b "XTatiCally Yours". Record Buyer. April 2002. 
  4. ^ Keoghan, Jim (6 February 2012). "A Watershed Moment: XTC's Andy Partridge On English Settlement". The Quietus. 
  5. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "XTC". AllMusic. Retrieved 27 December 2017. 
  6. ^ a b Woodstra, Chris. "English Settlement". AllMusic. 
  7. ^ a b Kot, Greg (3 May 1992). "The XTC Legacy: An Appraisal". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 22 June 2016. 
  8. ^ a b c Ingham, Chris (March 1999). "XTC - 'Til Death Do Us Part". Mojo. 
  9. ^ Dave (9 March 2008). "Interview of Dave Gregory". Rundgren Radio (Audio). Retrieved 14 January 2008. 
  10. ^ Katzif, Mike (26 September 2008). "Five More In 5/4". NPR. Retrieved 10 June 2018. 
  11. ^ Woodstra, Chris. "English Settlement – XTC". AllMusic. Retrieved 19 June 2011. 
  12. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-85712-595-8. 
  13. ^ Dahlen, Chris. "XTC: Go 2 / Black Sea / English Settlement". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on 4 June 2003. Retrieved 19 June 2011. 
  14. ^ Harrison, Andrew. "XTC: English Settlement". Q. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 19 June 2011. 
  15. ^ Puterbaugh, Parke (29 April 1982). "XTC: English Settlement". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 11 April 2009. Retrieved 19 June 2011. 
  16. ^ Frere-Jones, Sasha (2004). "XTC". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. Simon & Schuster. pp. 890–92. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. 
  17. ^ Hepworth, David (4–17 February 1982). "Albums". Smash Hits: 17. 
  18. ^ Christgau, Robert (6 July 1982). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved 20 June 2011. 
  19. ^ Ramon, Gary (November 1990). "XTC Recording History". Record Collector. No. 130. 
  20. ^ "35 Years Ago: Andy Partridge suffers nervous breakdown during XTC show". Diffuser. March 17, 2017. 
  21. ^ [1]