Not many artists wait until they're 65 to release a debut solo album, but that is what we have here. Peter Perrett had a dose of fame in the late '70s as frontman of English rock band the Only Ones, best remembered for their signature tune "Another Girl, Another Planet," but that underrated band split in 1982, and a subsequent reunion in 2007 didn't amount to much (nor did his short-lived '90s band the One). And given Perrett's well-known substance abuse problems, it feels lucky that he's still here.
The fact that he has re-emerged with such a compelling record can be termed a shock, but it's a pleasant one. The drawl that was always his vocal trademark is pleasingly intact on How the West Was Won, as is his dark wit, but there's also a redemptive quality to the material here. "An Epic Story" is clearly a tribute to his wife of 47 years, with Perrett tenderly declaring, "If I could live my whole life again, I would choose you every time." Similar sentiments are expressed in "Troika."
Adding to the family connection is the presence of his sons Jamie and Peter Jr. on lead guitar and bass respectively, while the production of Chris Kimsey (The Rolling Stones) is clean and focused. The title cut is a real highlight, with the "Sweet Jane" feel of the intro gradually giving way to ringing guitar as Perrett dishes up lines like, "I'm in love with Kim Kardashian... even though I know she's just a bum."
There's some epic psychedelia-tinged guitar work on the 6:32 long cut "Living in My Head," while in another track featuring searing guitar, "Something in My Brain," Perrett intones that, "We've both been there and back again."
How the West Was Won is a very welcome return. (Domino)