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The Only Ones
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2008 digitally remastered edition of the Punk/Alternative band's seminal debut album, originally released in 1978. Though they were more like a scuzzy, whacked-out New Wave or Pop/Rock band, The Only Ones have been linked to the Punk scene since this debut. Led by singer/songwriter Peter Perrett, the band curiously featured former Spooky Tooth drummer Mike Kellie amongst their line-up! Their sound was a mixture of basic, stripped down Rock and New York Dolls-style swagger. 11 tracks including 'The Whole of the Law', 'No Peace for the Wicket' and their biggest hit 'Another Girl Another Planet'. Sony/BMG.
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Musically, they were more accomplished than many of their contemporaries, playing more on Be Bop Deluxe's level than The Pistols or Clash. They had a certified guitar hero in John Perry and a seasoned rhythm section in Alan Mair & Mike Kellie (whose combined resume included The Beatstalkers and Prog Rock's Spooky Tooth).
As for front man Peter Perrett, he was more the Artful Dodger's answer to Lou Reed than Johnny Rotten. Less angry young man, and more stick a needle in your arm and flip the world the bird. A voice that combined gauche insouciance with wounded vulnerability. He had Dylan's sarcastic sense of wordplay and Baudelaire's knack for doomed Romance. When Perrett drawls, "I know something you don't know" it's both an invitation and a taunt...
Instead of kicking off with "Another Girl", the gorgeously languid ballad, "The Whole of the Law" drapes itself on the settee, taking its title from occultist Alistair Crowley. An understated informal introduction before "Another Girl" launches things into the stratosphere. "Breaking Down" follows and is an almost a perverse exercise in bucking trends with its jazz lines & electric piano solo. Perrett's poison pen playing on words like a cat with string, all the while opening a vein.
While "City of Fun" and "Language Problem" are just as scorching as anything cut by the Buzzcocks, "The Beast" and "Creature of Doom" really defy easy classification. "Beast" is more August Strindberg's "Occult Diary" with it's restless paranoia. Despite, razor sharp one liners worthy of early Elvis Costello. Meanwhile, "Doom" brings Roky Erickson to mind. Then things suddenly go Country with "The Truth". In all the years I've been acquainted with this album, these are 3 tracks that keep me coming back for more due to their sheer weirdness.
"No Peace for the Wicked" deftly juggles wry humor and heartbreak but "Immortal Story" ends it all with flipping the bird to Fame & Fortune with the epitaph: "When dreams become reality/ that's living death don't you see?"
Outside of the fact that this is a neglected classic, another reason to pick this remastered reissue up are the inclusion of "Lovers of Today" and "Peter & the Pets". Two non-album gems just as stellar as "Another Girl".
The equally stellar "Even Serpents Shine" followed their debut and all too suddenly a commendable but flawed, "Baby's Got A Gun" closed the book. But if you can track it down the great posthumous collection of outtakes & rarities,"Remains" is the final word. Despite critical acclaim, lack of commercial appeal led to their demise more than drugs and feuding. The debut of one of the greatest cult Rock bands you've never heard.