The Only Ones

Live at the BBC

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While the four sessions that the Only Ones recorded for BBC DJ John Peel are generally regarded as the very peak of the group's recorded work, it is sad to acknowledge that the concert culled for this release probably ranks among the weakest. Live, the Only Ones were always a tentative proposition, nightly veering between spine-chilling brilliance and absolute chaos. Live at the BBC, while not quite scraping the nadirs that the Only Ones were so eminently capable of, nevertheless finds them in ragged form, going through the same kind of motions that scar their then-imminent second album, Even Serpents Shine. Already established as a classic of the age, "Another Girl Another Planet" sounds more or less perfunctory, while "Lovers of Today" and "No Peace for the Wicked" reveal frontman Peter Perrett apparently more intent on sounding like Johnny Thunders than actually performing the songs. A vast disappointment, then, all the more so since there are tapes circulating on the collector's circuit that not only capture the band at its best, they remind listeners that sometimes, the Only Ones really were the only ones who mattered.

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