Ever wonder how Rock Stars pass the time between albums and tours? The MusicBiz is nowhere near as lucrative as it used to be, so you can’t rely on the quarterly royalty cheque to drop on the doormat and pay for all your Sushi, hair gel and “medicine” any more. It’s been ten years since Peter Perrett put the Only Ones together for a tour and since then…well, he must have done something to keep the wolf from the door. Wouldn’t it have been great to have popped to Homebase for some woodglue and rawlplugs and been greeted by Pete with a Gauloise in his mouth and a slim volume of Ginsberg tucked into his apron? Something tells me he wouldn’t be the right guy to ask about how to mitre-cut some skirting board, though…
It’s taken Peter the best part of forty-five years to make a solo album. To say he’s had an interesting time since his first tentative steps in music with England’s Glory in the early seventies is a bit of an understatement. For all the gory details, look elsewhere, suffice to say that’s it’s incredible that “How The West Was Won” is as good as it is.
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I’m sure that Mr Perrett would have had no shortage of skinny, louche, chain-smoking superstars, ready to attach themselves to his legacy by playing on his record. Instead, Peter has turned somewhat closer to home and he’s ably accompanied by his sons Peter Jr (bass) and Jamie (lead guitar). Any thoughts of nepotism will vanish the minute you hear them play. Perrett has also drafted in Chris Kimsey to produce. The logic behind this being that, if Kimsey (veteran of a bunch of late seventies-early eighties Rolling Stones albums) can keep Keef in check, he can keep anyone upright, awake and focussed…
“How The West Was Won” is the album that you hoped Perrett would make. The title track starts off with a slightly alarming verse about “dirty bombs” but settles into a lazy, slide guitar driven groove. The lyrics are laugh at loud funny at times – although references to Kim Kardashian and JLO sound decidedly odd when they’re delivered in his reptilian drawl. It’s a very personal, intimate album – first person narratives and love songs alongside his own vision of the world are the order of the day and although you might not agree with his point of view you can’t argue with the man’s intellect and way with words. “Hard To Say No”, “Living In My Head” and “Something In My Brain” give an insight into the darkness that Perrett has often been surrounded with. It would have been easy to romanticise his lost years, but instead we get a matter-of-fact recounting of thoughts and events and the songs have more impact because of that. “This is an allegorical tale” he sings in “Something In My Brain”, “It don’t take prisoners, don’t give bail”.
It’s an album built on classic lines. The rhythm section make a solid foundation for Jamie Perrett to embellish with some very classy lead guitar – dad must have been incredibly proud. It’s a great, timeless rock ‘n’ roll sound. Kimsey’s production is nicely transparent, so there’s no sonic shackles to any particular decade, although it does have the late seventies swagger you’d expect. There’s no deadwood, overcooked introspection or embarrassing attempts to be something he isn’t on this album. The advantage of having the kind of vocal approach that Perrett has is that it remains intact for all your life. He sounded fifty when he was twenty-five, so as a sixty-five year old man now, you could almost argue that he sounds youthful. Well, maybe.
So, at the age when most men are hanging up their boots and retiring, our Pete has released one of the most anticipated albums of 2017. How very Peter Perrett.
“How The West Was Won” is available from June 30th via Domino
The Track listing is as follows:
- How The West was Won
- An Epic Story
- Hard To Stay No
- Living In My Head
- Man Of Extremes
- Sweet Endeavour
- C Voyeurger
- Something In My Brain
- Take Me Home