Peter Perrett - Humanworld - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Peter Perrett - Humanworld

by Sean Hewson Rating:9 Release Date:2019-06-07
Peter Perrett - Humanworld
Peter Perrett - Humanworld

A second solo album so soon after his first will delight fans of Peter Perrett. The 90s and early 2000s were worrying times as he was either off the radar or ill-looking and you began to expect the worst. However, the robust-sounding Perrett on Humanworld (and How The West Was Won) are good signs for the future. As are the facts that he has a solid band around him (including his sons, Jamie and Peter, on guitar and bass) and a solid label, Domino, behind him. Last time around he rewarded Domino by charting, the same outcome can be expected for this solid follow-up.

I Want Your Dreams starts out sparse, almost like Young Marble Giants, but the sound slowly fills up behind Perrett’s unmistakable voice. It’s a brief, tight and modern-sounding opener. The sound continues on Once Is Enough. The whole album is drenched in classic Perrett lines and Once Is Enough starts with ‘Got a friend who’s as crazy as fuck’ – and you believe him. Heavenly Day comes across as a tribute to Lou Reed with touches of New Age and Perfect Day in the lyric. The throbbing backing, simple chord structure and gnarly guitar sound also bring to mind Spiritualized or, again, the Lou Reed of The Blue Mask. The whole performance is pretty magical and finishes on an A Day In The Life piano chord. The next track, Love Comes On Silent Feet, is more rollicking. It has a galloping rhythm and the feeling of the quicker tracks from Spiritualized’s Ladies and Gentlemen…. Then the pace is brought back down for the gentler The Power Is In You. It is a very Lou Reed chord pattern and the lead line subtly references this. The feeling is of Lou Reed’s albums with Robert Quine. There are more VU moments when Jenny Maxwell adds a little bit of viola towards the end. The viola is featured even more on Believe In Nothing, which is a louder track with solid drumming from Jake Woodward. As can be seen from the title, it’s a State of the Nation address. Everyone’s having a go these days but, with Perrett’s wit and world-weary delivery, Believe In Nothing stands as one of the best. The politics continue on War Plan Red where disgust mingles with the wit in a tidy piece of writing from a man who knows his literature (From Here To Eternity used the structure of a Shakespearean sonnet, I think). As the world goes to shit, Jamie Perrett unleashes yet another savage solo – his playing is exceptional throughout the album. Peter Jr. pushes 48 Crash along with a huge, growling bass line along with Peter Sr.’s slashing rhythm guitar. He’s always had that mainly down-stroking style where you’re not sure if he’s going to land every chord in time, but he always seems to. Walking In Berlin is as near as we get to filler, up until this point the flow of great ideas has been relentless. It’s a good enough song but slightly stalls in this company. A skipping beat leads us into Love’s Inferno which has a few neat little 60s references in the Garcia-like lead lines and The Doors steal in the lyrics. The rhythm also comes from another song but the old brain won’t bring it to mind right now (I actually think it might be Jethro Tull – Living In The Past?). Master Of Destruction is next and we can’t help but presume who it is about. It was written by Jamie Perrett. Clearly, the apple hasn’t fallen too far from the tree because it’s a cracking song with a great lyric and a strong chorus and Peter Sr. gives it the respect of a fully committed delivery. Humanworld closes with Carousel, a slower, gentler song. Perret manages to get ‘nebulous’ into the lyrics. The song itself stands alongside Perrett’s many bittersweet love songs and we can only imagine they are generally for and about his partner of more than 50 years, Zena Kakoulli. It’s a touching conclusion to the album but there is always a darkness at the edge of town.

Humanworld is, to me, even stronger than How The West Was Won. There is the feeling that a strong team has gathered around Perrett and the confidence in the writing and playing is growing exponentially. To me, the man is a natural treasure. His voice is an absolute one-off – see him live and it sounds even more other-worldly than on record. He also combines a huge vocabulary with knowledge of the seedy side of life as well as anyone, including Lou Reed. On this album, he also sounds like another almost-fallen hero who’s lungs nearly gave out – Jason Pierce. The simple chord structures and the beaten but not defeated edge to the voice. And his splendid band also bring the same power and sensitivity as Spiritualized in full flight.

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