Much though I loved it at the time, not a great deal of lasting worth came out of that fervid punk upheaval between 1976 and 1978. In terms of bands you would voluntarily listen to again, there was just The Clash and The Only Ones, in my book. The latter enjoyed no commercial success, despite leaving behind two of the best British albums of the decade and a single — ‘Another Girl, Another Planet’ — which has been called the finest three minutes of rock music ever, ever. Problem was they were too musicianly and literate for a time which exulted in bellowing, grunting, spitting and staccato stabs of noise.
The band’s lead singer and songwriter, Peter Perrett, has just released his debut solo album. It’s a beautiful work, lush with swirling melodies, chiming Fender guitars and Perrett’s sardonic norf lunnun drawl. And with wit and humour. The title track, a wedge of smoky Americana with a lap steel riff liberated from Dylan’s ‘If Not For You’, is a case in point — a denunciation of the USA but the leftie tirade leavened by Perrett’s admission that he’s in love with Kim Kardashian: ‘even though I know she’s just a bum/in another timeline I would have stared at her all day long/without ever wanting to see her from the front.’ The only British lyricist who has come close to Perrett these past 40 years is Luke Haines, similarly unencumbered by financial success. From the unexpectedly sweet, lolloping power pop of ‘Hard To Say No’ to the majestic rawk of ‘Living In My Head’, there’s not a duff track here. Cherish the man. Cherish.