REVIEW BY: David Bowling
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 05/26/2007
The Who railed against the establishment during the 1960s with some brilliant rock & roll. They produced an amazing and, for the time period, unique concept album with the rock opera Tommy. This was followed by the first-rate LP Who’s Next.
Time passes. Keith Moon is long gone and John Entwhistle is now gone as well. The Who are now the establishment they railed against.
Endless Wire is the Who’s first studio album in 24 years. I was hoping for great, I would have accepted average, but instead got poor. Endless Wire is a difficult LP to sit through, as it is a Pete Townshend project with Roger Daltrey brought in to provide the vocals. It is by no means a group project, further showing that while Townshend was the brains behind the group, it took all four of them to make the magic.
Having been a Who fan since their inception it pains me to say Endless Wire is a mess. Pete Townshend plays too many instruments and Roger Daltrey sounds hoarse. Why one of the great guitarists of the rock era cannot just be content to just play the guitar is beyond me.
Endless Wire is divided into two sections. Songs 1-9 are stand alone studio recordings and 10-21 are the mini-opera "Wire & Glass." The first two songs, "Fragments" and "A Man In A Purple Dress," are two of the poorer songs in Who history and, unfortunately, set the tone for everything that follows. Even the sound is poor, which is inexcusable in today’s day and age.
Are there any high points or even acceptable points? The song "God Speaks To Marty Robbins" is just acoustic guitar and vocals and it works. That sort of arrangement should have comprised this whole disc, and it would have made sense. Or maybe an all-instrumental LP, since Townshend can still play the guitar when he sets his mind to it. The song "It’s Not Enough" shows him in fine form.
The mini opera "Endless Wire" just does not work. The concept is a look at life from where Townshend stands right now and is a sad and reflective place -- and also a piece that could have gotten the point across in just two songs, "Mirror Door" and "Tea & Theater." That would have covered it and a lot less painfully.
I have listened to Endless Wire three times in the past week and it does not get any better. After the third listening I had to clear my mind and pull Who’s Next and My Generation out of storage. I feel much better now.
|I strongly disagree with this review, Sure Moonie and Jon are gone but Zak Starkey is a pretty good replacement he brings more of a moonie feeling almost as if he is possessed by moon. Jon being gone is still a problem since Pino doesn't have the ability to write ghoulish or humorous lyrics, but Daltrey and Townshend still have it in them and havethe passion back. I think they made a great album for what they got left.|