Peter Perrett - How The West Was Won album review
The Only Ones singer, back from another brink
Like a punk Kevin Rowland, Peter Perrett is one we almost lost. Since The Only Ones split in 1982, singer Perrett has descended into bouts of heroin and crack-induced reclusiveness that would last decades at a time; his debut solo album emerges as Perrett hits 65, twenty-one years after his last album with The Ones. And while its takes on classic swing, psych country and postpunk pop are understandably fragile and lacking wallop – an inevitable consequence of age and getting your kids in your backing band – How The West Was Won is shot through with a wonderfully wry reinvigoration.
‘I didn’t die, at least not yet, I’m still just about capable of one last defiant breath,’ he croaks with only mildly diminished passion on Something In My Brain, a song describing how his crack addiction finally gave way to a fresh onslaught of creativity, and such candid autobiography is largely the order of the day. Freewheeling pop tunes like An Epic Story and Man Of Extremes and the frailer C Voyeurger are dedicated to his teenage runaway bride Zena, while the brilliantly louche title track finds Perrett casting his empirical eye over the squalid mass of Western civilisation from Wall Street bombs to Kim Kardashian’s arse. ‘Rock’n’roll is back in me,’ he continues on Something In My Brain – and though it’s a damaged strain, it’s not a moment too soon.