The Upshot: Erstwhile Only Ones mainman’s career has had plenty of ups AND downs, but his brand of doomed romanticism and lyrical wit both still run deep.
BY MICHAEL TOLAND
A mere twenty-one years following his previous musical venture, 1996’s Woke Up Sticky, former Only Ones/The One leader Peter Perrett finally releases his second album. Longtime fans hoping for a return to the anthemic rock & roll of his Only Ones days may be disappointed, but that doesn’t mean How the West Was Won doesn’t have its strengths.
The 65-year-old’s songwriting seems to be at full power, his distinctive combo of doomed romanticism and lyrical wit as deep as ever. Backed by atmospheric folk rock from a band anchored by his guitarist son Jaime and bassist son Peter, Jr., the elder Perrett waxes and wanes about America (the title track), threesomes (“Troika”), addiction (“Hard to Say No,” “Something in My Brain”) and, most prominently, the ups and downs of love (“C Voyeuger,” “An Epic Story”). Despite being a well-known sufferer of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, he sounds strong, his uniquely reedy vocals as comfortable with the balladry of “Ce Voyeuger” as with the loud rock of “Sweet Endeavour.”
The album ends with “Take Me Home,” a bittersweet invocation that’s as open-ended as it is elegiac. That pretty much describes Perrett’s checkered but often brilliant career, which makes it the perfect note to end this historically underrated musician’s latest renaissance.
DOWNLOAD: “Sweet Endeavour,” “Take Me Home,” “How the West Was Won”