“The Only Ones” by The Only Ones - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1978Album Chart of the Decade: 1970s1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die external-link.png

TJR says

Battling through their scarcely disguised pub rock tendencies, the debut from this quartet emerges triumphantly largely due to the charismatic frontman, some strong songwriting and a willingness from the skilled players to take a chance and mess around with templates. They line-up: Peter Perrett (26, vocals, guitars, keyboards), John Perry (25, guitars, keyboards), Alan Mair (~30, bass guitar) and Mike Kellie (31, drums). “The Whole Of The Law” opens the set strangely but interestingly, almost harking back to the days of the doo-wop ballad, flavoured with a bit of Dion-DiMucci-like sax for good measure. What immediately sets them apart is Perrett's vocal drawl, as languid as it is poetic, compelling in terms of both style and content. This is followed by the stupendous “Another Girl, Another Planet”, released simulataneously as the album's lead (and only) single in April '78. Surprisingly, it failed to chart, but is rightly revered as a new wave classic. Often misunderstood, Perrett later explained his intent with the lyrics: “I can remember what caused me to write 'Another Girl, Another Planet.' It would have been about April '77 because we had it recorded by June. It was inspired by this girl from Yugoslavia. I didn't go out with her, but she was like a total space cadet, which when I was really young I found interesting. She was just a bit weird- she'd say crazy things, and it just got me thinking that every girl has something to offer. I did put in drug-related imagery, but it wasn't about drugs. At that time I was more addicted to sex and infatuation than I was to drugs.” Almost inevitably, everything else on side one pales in comparison. Whilst nothing offends, it's all a bit plain Jane pub rock.

Whilst side two doesn't have any Planet-esque killers, it's much stronger as a whole. The group almost revel in showing off with “Creature Of Doom”, veering between the New Wave, pure Rock n Roll and the old doo-wop ballad all in one great psuedo-medley. The lyrics pull me in: “I've heard your evil laugh, I wrote your epitaph, In words you'll never understand”. Deadpan and funny with it, it's his way. Towards the end of the set, the endearing “No Peace For The Wicked” is peak Perrett: “Why do I go through these deep emotional traumas, Why can't I be like I always wanted to be, carefree? … I'm in love with extreme mental torture”. Album closer “The Immortal Story” goes out in a blaze of Buzzcocks-like glory, with a thought provoking question: What if what you thought you always wanted turns out not to be what you wanted after all? “Travelling down the road that leads to fame and glory, This really is the immortal story, They want you, they'll get you, I wish I didn't have to let you… go”. It was a brilliant finale to a solid debut, though perhaps too sophisticated for the record buying oiks of the day, shockingly stalling at #56 in the UK album chart. No wonder he took to the drugs.

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [02:38] 6.1.png The Only Ones - The Whole Of The Law (Peter Perrett) Cerebral Pop
A2 [03:02] 10.0.png The Only Ones - Another Girl, Another Planet (Peter Perrett) New Wave
A3 [04:52] 5.6.png The Only Ones - Breaking Down (Peter Perrett) Cerebral Pop
A4 [03:32] 5.7.png The Only Ones - City Of Fun (Peter Perrett) Proto-Punk
A5 [05:47] 5.4.png The Only Ones - The Beast (Peter Perrett) Soft Rock / A.O.R.
B1 [02:35] 7.4.png The Only Ones - Creature Of Doom (Peter Perrett) New Wave
B2 [02:07] 5.0.png The Only Ones - It’s The Truth (Peter Perrett) Soft Rock / A.O.R.
B3 [02:28] 6.4.png The Only Ones - Language Problem (Peter Perrett) New Wave
B4 [02:51] 7.8.png The Only Ones - No Peace For The Wicked (Peter Perrett) New Wave
B5 [03:57] 7.7.png The Only Ones - The Immortal Story (Peter Perrett) New Wave

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