In 1992, after Sydney’s Happy Hate Me Nots split, Paul Berwick put together a trio called Settlement, with bassist, Jim Dickson (at the time ex New Christs) and drummer, Chris Welsh (at the time ex Died Pretty).
“I wanted to start something new” explained singer, guitarist and songwriter, Berwick.
“I advertised for a drummer and bass player. Jim Dickson answered, momentarily separated from the New Christs. We were already friends but I couldn’t believe it! We auditioned several drummers until Chris Welsh, momentarily separated from Died Pretty, called me. Again, I had to pinch myself! I already had enormous respect for both Jim and Chris!”
Settlement recorded five glorious tracks at Damien Gerard Studios at its original location in the inner Sydney suburb of Ultimo. The songs weren’t left over from Berwick’s days in the Happy Hate Me Nots. “All the songs were new. It was a good songwriting period for me.” A life long fan of great pop/rock songs, Berwick was inspired by some of the form’s masters. “At that time it was The Pretenders, The Who, Big Star, Prince and of course the Beatles!”
Paul Berwick – Happy Hate Me Nots
Jim Dickson – The Survivors, Passengers, Deniz Tek Group, Radio Birdman, New Christs
Chris Welsh – Died Pretty
As well as the recording session at Damien Gerard Studios, the band played some shows around Sydney in the second half of 1992. While the band and the music showed promise, Settlement’s existence was brief. “Chris got the call to return to Died Pretty. I couldn’t compete with that so it ended there”, said Berwick.
Or so it seemed.
In 2020, in the middle of the COVID-19 lockdown, Jim Dickson found the DAT tape of their studio session, which he then had mastered – significantly – at the same studio where it was recorded!
This band was a unique creation that doesn’t feature at all in Sydney’s early 90s rock history. It wasn’t a mirage though…they did exist. Here’s the proof!!
What’s Good For Me
Originally recorded in the 90’s these songs have that warm and analog tape sound that is hard to replicate successfully anymore. The lead tune What’s Good For Me is up-tempo and moves along in a power pop, jangly guitar way, not unlike early REM. The chorus is the standout and has a melodic and catchy chorus that stays in your head, tailed out by a strong instrumental section, this one is a winner.
Some shaker, guitar and huge drums start this up-tempo radio track. Once the vocals and band come in you are curious and want to hear more. The song drives along at a quick pace and maintains the interest with plenty going on plus a great vocal from Paul Berwick.
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