XTC – English Settlement
Acquired: Half Price Books, Used, 2011
We’ve been listening to this album at work quite a bit lately. Some inspired soul keeps putting it in the CD player on the sunny days. Well, until someone decides to take it out because it freaks out the blue hairs. Personally, I think this is the sort of feel good record that hits all the little pleasure centers that pop music should hit while still remaining weird and cool and inventive and fun. The songs are like little road trips with friends. Full of side quests, pit stops, and diversions that only add to the overall journey of it all, “Jason and the Argonauts” in particular. “Senses Working Overtime” has become my defacto springtime jam and general thesis statement for the exhaustion of living. The soundtrack to having someone ask you “What are you up to these days?” and the only real response you have is “Working.” English Settlement has the same wonderful playfulness you find in Flying Nun bands and to an extent, the Australians. It’s fun, but not inconsequential. It’s just such a smart fucking record.