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Strawbs Settlement album cover
3.75 | 32 ratings | 3 reviews | 9% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2021

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Settlement (5:00)
2. Strange Times (4:30)
3. Judgement Day (7:14)
4. Each Manner Of Man (4:28)
5. The Visit (4:45)
6. Flying Free (2:13)
7. Quicksilver Days (2:30)
8. We Are Everyone (5:08)
9. Chorale (3:13)

Total Time 39:01

Bonus tracks on CD only:
10. Champion Jack
11. Better Days (Life is Not a Game)
12. Liberty

Line-up / Musicians

- Dave Cousins / vocals, acoustic & electric guitars, electric dulcimer
- Dave Lambert / vocals, lead & acoustic guitars
- Dave Bainbridge / keyboards, electric & acoustic guitars, Hammond organ
- Chas Cronk / vocals, bass, 12-string guitars
- Tony Fernandez / drums, percussion

- Cathryn Craig / vocals
- John Ford / bass
- Schalk Joubert / bass

Releases information

Label: Esoteric Antenna
Format: Vinyl, CD, Digital
February 26, 2021

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to mbzr48 & NotAProghead for the last updates
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STRAWBS Settlement ratings distribution

(32 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(9%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(50%)
Good, but non-essential (25%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (6%)

STRAWBS Settlement reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by kenethlevine
4 stars Locked down and separated from each other by seas and continents, STRAWBS could have gone out as winners on the strength of their 21st century output, particularly "Ferryman's Curse" from 2017, which gained accolades across the prog, folk and prog folk realms. It certainly invited comparisons to the band's 1971-1975 commercial and artistic peak, and Chris Tsangarides production swan song made the most of DAVE COUSINS singular voice which, it must be admitted, has lost some range in its 75+ years. It wasn't perfect to be sure. The meandering keyboard style of the brilliant DAVE BAINBRIDGE didn't always "close the loop", which their prior keyboard players seemed to recognize as a pivotal strength of the group. The centerpiece title track spun a riveting tale as only Cousins can, but it was delivered as a monotonal dirge. Moreover, only one song was actually sung by someone other than Cousins, making it a less balanced deliverable than most of the back catalogue.

Why do I say all this? Because, while "Settlement" may not have a "Nails from the Hands of Christ" or a "When the Spirit Moves" or even a "Bats and Swallows", it has addressed each of these weaknesses and sounds more coherent than any geographically dispersed group of musicians has any right to be. The 39 minutes of the vinyl, streamable version sans bonus tracks are as consistent and artfully sequenced as any Strawbs album since "Ghosts", and I rarely want to listen to it only once. Yes, Cousins' strains to meet the unorthodox demands of the exquisite ballad "Strange Times"; he shouts disturbingly 4 times during the brilliantly grungy "Settlement" when maybe once or twice would have been enough - I mean he only screamed "May you Rot" once in "New World" which somehow made it all the more emphatic. Bainbridge's keys are much more succinct here, with echoes of former Strawb Blue Weaver, who produced this album from his home in Germany, in "Settlement", John Hawken in "Strange Times", and Rick Wakeman in "Quicksilver Days"; ex Strawb John Ford gifts us his ageless vocal on the most catchy number, the nonetheless substantive "Each Manner of Man", and Dave Lambert's "The Visit" mainlines the group's early folk sound not far removed from their brothers and sisters of that bygone scene, FAIRPORT CONVENTION and STEELEYE SPAN, in part thanks to Cousins' use of banjo and dulcimer. Even "Judgement Day", at first seeming monotonous, affixes a groove with its unusual meter and breezes through its nearly 7 minutes in a manner simultaneously Strawb like and like nothing they have ever done before. "We are Everyone" is both uplifting and creepy in the best ways, and the addition of erstwhile associate Cathryn Craig on both lead and backing vocals was a casting coup. The two accomplished instrumental numbers serve as codas for "The Visit" and "We Are Everyone" and are suitably rootsy and symphonic respectively.

That leaves the bonus tracks. I give some props to "Champion Jack" for its use of bouzouki and its mellotron rich coda, but unfortunately, emotional although it is, it arrives a little late. "Better Days" is certainly the weakest number, plying an unconvincing Bossa Nova style which, rather than highlighting the group's eclectic interests, comes off as parody. It's not even catchy. The finale, the first Strawbs track featuring Chas Cronk as lead vocalist, seems to be a favourite among those critics who don't have much time for Strawbs. His voice is fine but the song doesn't seem to start, proceed, or finish anywhere.

While this may not be their most prog oriented effort, Strawbs have always existed outside such labels, perhaps to their commercial detriment but definitely to their fans' delight. I can't imagine "Settlement" being turned down by any long term listener who appreciates all eras of the group.

Latest members reviews

4 stars By necessity, this will be a short review. Settlement, the Strawbs' new album, is very good not withstanding a few caveats. The album was recorded by the band members individually at their home studios and compiled by former member and album producer Blue Weaver, due to UK's endless Covid lockdown. ... (read more)

Report this review (#2526188) | Posted by SteveG | Thursday, March 18, 2021 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This new album by Strawbs has been being celebrated short on arrival as a revival of their halcyon days, like shown in (let's say) Grave New World. There's a good measure of truth in such assertion, but not in the more obvious sense: the source from which came Benedictus, and The Flower And The Youn ... (read more)

Report this review (#2509967) | Posted by Heart of the Matter | Monday, March 1, 2021 | Review Permanlink

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