Peter Perrett

Humanworld

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AllMusic Review by

After years spent in the wilderness of addiction and recovery, Peter Perrett made a stunning comeback with 2017's How the West Was Won. The former Only One returned with a set of songs that re-established him as one of the great punk romantics, possessed of a timeless voice and a gimlet eye for a hooky melody. He was backed by a band made up of his two sons, and they backed Perrett with a perfect mix of grit and grace. The same crew reunited for 2019's Humanworld, and they've managed to make another great record. A little rougher around the edges, with spikier guitars and more energy, there are more up-tempo songs this time around and a little bit of bitter politics added to the lyrics. It's a bracing album with a sound and feel that will be very familiar to fans of the Only Ones, and more importantly, it shows no drop-off in quality from How the West Was Won. Turns out Perrett didn't just have one last shot left, he is back for real and it shows. Songs like "I Want Your Dreams" and "Believe in Nothing" have the lost romantic feel of vintage Only Ones, the rollicking "Love Comes on Silent Feet" is a brilliant slice of guitar rock, "48 Crash" and "War Plan Red" have the raw energy of vintage punk plus the perspective of experience, and the many ballads (like "Love's Inferno" and "Heavenly Day") have a sweetness at their core that's surprising for someone who's led a life as complicated as Perrett's. The band once again provides sublime backing: the guitars kick up dust when they need to, the keyboards and occasional viola give the songs a widescreen feel, and the rhythm section is tight and powerful. The songs, words, and Perrett's inimitable vocals combine with the music to create something special again. There's not a moment on Humanworld that feels forced or phony, and Perrett sounds fully in command of everything. Both this record and How the West Was Won would have been notable just because Perrett was still alive and making music again; the high level of the music he's actually making means that they are both vital transmissions from one of the great lost talents of the punk era.

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