The Only Ones

Peel Sessions

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The process of cult deification that Peter Perrett and co. have undergone in the years since their early-'80s breakup notwithstanding, the Only Ones remain one of the most underrated bands of their generation -- a fate that matches, of course, their own policy of absolute underachievement. Listen to any of the recorded music that the band left behind, and the Only Ones' recapitulation of all that was promised by primal Roxy Music, Be Bop Deluxe, and Bowie grins out over everything they did. But the personal difficulties that ultimately tore them apart had torn them to shreds long before the end, and for every shining moment captured on their regular albums, there's another that leaves the party way too early. Small wonder, then, that The Peel Sessions is widely regarded -- by band and fans alike -- as the only wholly accurate illustration of the Only Ones at their best, 16 tracks recorded over four separate sessions between September 1977 and June 1980. All of the band's best-known songs are here. Indeed, for the generation that grew up listening to John Peel late at night, the sessions are the reason why they are the band's best-known songs -- certainly no one else in British radioland was playing them at the time. But the sessions also represent the Only Ones performing with the impromptu fire and flair that the conventional recording studio too frequently sucked out of them, and turning in best-ever versions of "Language Problem," "No Peace for the Wicked," "The Beast," and the self-defining "Another Girl, Another Planet" -- and that's just one of the sessions. The very best of the Only Ones, then, is also one of the finest of all Peel Sessions releases. And, at last, the Only Ones have gotten the memorial they deserved.

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