Album reviews by Eric Sandberg
Having rewritten "Sweet Jane" three times over his last two albums notwithstanding, Peter Perrett is an effortlessly charming and engaging songwriter. In 1978 Perrett scored a hit with "Another Girl, Another Planet" as a member of The Only Ones. The band folded in 1980 after releasing three albums.
Perrett briefly resurfaced fifteen years later as The One — but drugs, and the ensuing poor behavior often caused by their use, cut this comeback short. In 2017, buoyed by his son, guitarist/arranger/producer Jamie, Peter Perrett surprised everyone who cares with the release of How the West Was Won, a strong collection of all new songs.
Now, just two years later, the rejuvenated Perrett has graced us with another album of first rate new songs. Humanworld finds Perrett in full command of his [previously thought lost] melodicism and poetic lyricism. Jamie Perrett provides all of his dad's songs with the musical grandeur they deserve and even contributes one of his own which fits in seamlessly thanks to the similarity of their voices.
Humanworld is simply a great album by a great songwriter. It's one of those rare albums that is instantly likeable but is not going to wear out its welcome any time soon.
Remember when Michael Jordan tried to play professional baseball? It's kind of like that when Richard Hawley tries to rock. OK, that is admittedly unfair and shameful hyperbole — Richard Hawley can rock — at least far better than MJ can hit a curveball. It's just not what he does best.
Richard Hawley is the Michael Jordan of slow tempo, reverb-drenched, aching romantic balladry. He has the soul of Roy Orbison at his saddest, the pathos of Nick Cave at his most wistful and the lonesomeness of Hank Williams at his — oh never mind — as a balladeer, Hawley is a law unto himself — impossible to describe adequately with words.
After an EP and five full-length albums of gorgeous melodies and sublime arrangements Hawley threw his devoted fans a wicked curveball in the form of Standing at the Sky's Edge , a distortion-soaked, psychedelic romp. He got a lot of stick for it, too. As one reviewer put it, "WHY!?" At the time, I didn't mind the diversion. He deserved the opportunity to try something different, and he is one mean guitar player.
Hawley returned to his previous form three years later with an achingly beautiful album Hollow Meadows the first track of which "I Still Want You" sounds vaguely like an apology to his fans.
After composing the scores for a couple of films and a TV show Hawley is back with a new album and he's taking things further again. On Further, Hawley mixes uptempo rockers with his more familiar lighter touch and the results are...well...mixed. It's a fine album from start to finish, and an enjoyable listen, but the juxtaposition of his fair to middling rock songs with his ever perfect balladry makes me wish it was all ballads, all the time. The proof is in the pudding, so I will leave you here to listen to the rockin' lead track from Further to compare to a lush track from Hawley's previous album album Hollow Meadows and let you decide. Let me know which you prefer.
"Off My Mind" The lead track from Further
Eric Sandberg: My true opinion on everything is that it's splunge.