Albums

£11.59

Classical - Released September 8, 2015 | CBS Records

£15.19
£12.89

Punk / New Wave - Released September 6, 2013 | CBS Records

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Hi-Res Audio
Give 'Em Enough Rope, for all of its many attributes, was essentially a holding pattern for the Clash, but the double-album London Calling is a remarkable leap forward, incorporating the punk aesthetic into rock & roll mythology and roots music. Before, the Clash had experimented with reggae, but that was no preparation for the dizzying array of styles on London Calling. There's punk and reggae, but there's also rockabilly, ska, New Orleans R&B, pop, lounge jazz, and hard rock; and while the record isn't tied together by a specific theme, its eclecticism and anthemic punk function as a rallying call. While many of the songs -- particularly "London Calling," "Spanish Bombs," and "The Guns of Brixton" -- are explicitly political, by acknowledging no boundaries the music itself is political and revolutionary. But it is also invigorating, rocking harder and with more purpose than most albums, let alone double albums. Over the course of the record, Joe Strummer and Mick Jones (and Paul Simonon, who wrote "The Guns of Brixton") explore their familiar themes of working-class rebellion and antiestablishment rants, but they also tie them in to old rock & roll traditions and myths, whether it's rockabilly greasers or "Stagger Lee," as well as mavericks like doomed actor Montgomery Clift. The result is a stunning statement of purpose and one of the greatest rock & roll albums ever recorded. [In 2000 Columbia/Legacy reissued and remastered London Calling.] ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
£4.69

Pop/Rock - Released May 2, 2011 | CBS Records

£7.69

Rock - Released January 30, 2009 | CBS Records

In many respects, the Only Ones had been swimming against the current ever since they started playing out in 1977, and the wear was finally beginning to show by the time they cut their third album, 1980's Baby's Got a Gun. After Even Serpents Shine failed to sell to expectations, CBS put the Only Ones in the studio with producer Colin Thurston, best known for his work with the likes of Duran Duran, the Human League, and Bow Wow Wow; Thurston was clearly aiming to push the pop angles of Peter Perrett's melodies into the forefront, and while to some degree he succeeded, the amiably sleazy rock & roll edge of their first two albums was blunted on this set, and Perrett and John Perry's guitars don't have the same impact here. The quality of the songwriting on Baby's Got a Gun, while still strong, is not up to the level of the first two albums, and significantly, the Only Ones recorded their only cover for this LP ("Fools," a hit for country singer Johnny Duncan, with Perrett dueting quite wonderfully with Pauline Murray of Penetration). And while Perrett was still singing and writing well, the drug addiction that would haunt him for years was catching up with him during these sessions, and Baby's Got a Gun lacks some of the focus and energy of their earlier work. Baby's Got a Gun is clearly the weakest of the Only Ones' three original albums, but for all its faults there's plenty here that testifies to the band's strengths; "Why Don't You Kill Yourself," "Strange Mouth," and "The Big Sleep" are splendid songs that show the band still had the goods, and "Trouble in the World" and "The Happy Pilgrim" confirm they could reach for a poppier sound without losing their personality in the process. The Only Ones broke up a year after Baby's Got a Gun came out, but if it captured the sound of a band in decline, you can barely tell unless you're looking for the seams. ~ Mark Deming
£7.69

Rock - Released January 30, 2009 | CBS Records

Plenty of bands from the first wave of British punk sounded like they had learned a few things from the New York Dolls, but while most latched onto the sloppy crash and bash of Johnny Thunders' guitar, the Only Ones instead seemed more closely drawn to the witty cynicism and trashy romanticism of David Johansen's lyrics, and the Only Ones' tenuous link to the faster-and-louder gang was fading fast by the time they cut their second album, Even Serpents Shine. While there's plenty of rock & roll on Even Serpents Shine, "Programme" is the only track that seems to approach four-square punk, and with its double-tracked guitar solos, sax overdubs, and backwards tape treatments it didn't have much in common with, say, the Damned or the Adverts. Elsewhere, Even Serpents Shine more often recalls the heart-on-the-sleeve spirit of Mott the Hoople's glory days, merged with a leaner attack that still made room for John Perry's guitar heroics and Peter Perrett's wobbly but potently effective vocals. Even Serpents Shine doesn't boast an out-of-the-box classic tune along the lines of "Another Girl, Another Planet" from the self-titled debut, but in many respects, this is the more consistent album, achieving a similar degree of thematic and melodic variety while generating a more coherent sound and feeling, and the band certainly sounds tighter and more confident on their second trip to the studio. And Peter Perrett's meditations on love in its many guises still stand apart from nearly anyone else's in British rock, and the funny, keenly observed and sometimes heartbreaking lyrics he wrote for this album are every bit as effective now as they were in 1979. Even Serpents Shine may not be quite the triumph that was the Only Ones' debut album, but they were one of the very few bands of their time and place who inarguably beat the sophomore slump. ~ Mark Deming
£9.09

Rock - Released January 30, 2009 | CBS Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
The Only Ones were a band that became identified with the British punk scene largely because leader Peter Perrett had a funny voice and could write a great straightforward rock & roll song at a time when such virtues were possessed almost exclusively by the faster-and-louder brigade. This helps explain why the Only Ones' self-titled debut album is regarded as a classic of the first wave of U.K. punk despite the presence of the midtempo jazz-accented "Breaking Down"; the '50s pop moves of the opening cut, "The Whole of the Law"; "The Beast," which sounds like some sort of lethargic neo-boogie; and the graceful semi-acoustic semi-samba "No Peace for the Wicked." Of course, when the Only Ones felt like rocking out, they did it brilliantly, and along with the instant classic "Another Girl, Another Planet," this album includes the sinister but rollicking "City of Fun" and the feedback-drenched crunch of "The Immoral Story," which points to another factor that made the Only Ones heroes in their day -- their eclecticism was rooted in a genuine talent for embracing different sounds rather than the inability to pick a style and master it. Perrett and his bandmates -- John Perry on guitar, Alan Mair on bass, and Mike Kellie on drums -- sound like a tight and imaginative combo even when they're surrounded by keyboard and horn overdubs, and Perrett's tales of one guy's search for love and coherence in a fractured world are intelligent, witty, and deeply cutting at all times. If the creative ambition of the Only Ones sometimes comes at the price of a tight stylistic focus that would make these songs cohere better, every track is memorable in its own way, and these ten songs always have heart, soul, and honesty to spare -- and if that isn't always the benchmark of punk rock, it's at least in the neighborhood. ~ Mark Deming

Pop/Rock - Released January 1, 1991 | CBS Records

£10.29
Red

Pop/Rock - Released May 7, 1990 | CBS Records

Pop/Rock - Released January 29, 1990 | CBS Records

£10.29

Hard Rock - Released January 1, 1990 | CBS Records

£11.59

Classical - Released October 16, 1989 | CBS Records

£11.59

Pop/Rock - Released February 9, 1988 | CBS Records

Pop/Rock - Released January 1, 1976 | CBS Records

Pop/Rock - Released January 1, 1975 | CBS Records