Given his notoriously ruinous lifestyle, Peter Perrett’s 2017 solo debut, How the West Was Won, was a remarkably coherent record. Almost four decades after the Only Ones’ acrimonious dissolution, finally clean after years of heroin and crack addiction, and backed by his sons Jamie (guitar) and Peter Jr (bass), Perrett showed he still had a way with a drawled melody, even if his ruminations on Kim Kardashian’s bottom seemed a little unnecessary.
The follow-up is even better, delivered with a greater confidence and urgency, and featuring a handful of songs that almost match up to his late-70s output. The title of the thrillingly direct War Plan Red might be a reference to a 1930 US military plan to attack British interests in the North Atlantic, but when Perrett sings, “The stars and stripes and swastikas filled Madison Square Garden”, it seems more like a snapshot from a dystopian near-future. The mid-paced Master of Destruction, written by his son Jamie and containing the album’s most potent chorus, is stronger still. He’s equally adept on the slower material: Heavenly Day showcases his more romantic side, while Believe in Nothing is heroically nihilistic (“Blackest hole is drawing us in/Bleakest future there’s ever been”).