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The Who - Quadrophenia CD (album) cover

QUADROPHENIA

The Who

 

Proto-Prog

4.48 | 411 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

friso
Prog Reviewer
3 stars The Who - Quadrophenia (1973)

I really wanted to like this one, a double vinyl concept album with an extra photobooklet and one of the highest rated albums on the archives. Yet, even The Who, who did an excellent job on the 2lp 'Tommy' (1969) in my opinion, couldn't help but loose themselves in their second 2lp.

Now the songwriting of this album is pretty strong and on par with other strong records. The band chose to continue the art-rock/heavy-rock style of 'Who's next' (1971) stylisticly, whilst rejuvinating the conceptual songstyle of their first rockopera 'Tommy'. A golden marriage, or so it seems. The catchiness of some parts is beyond what most progressive rock groups can achieve and the riffs and rhythm-sections are all well written. Still I can't help getting the feeling the band just doesn't reach the momentum of earlier effort Tommy, which sometimes makes Quadrophenia sound like a poor rendition.

The production. When the music starts, after some sea noises and musical promises of what's to come, one can't help but getting the impression the producer of the album wanted to create rocked fuel; such loudness, fullness and directionless intervening sound- spectrums. Like every musician is giving a solo at the same time. This I can accept for a short album, but I just can't listen to this kind of production for long. The opening-track turns into halve song and halve bass-solo by John Entwistle, the meaning of it all is a riddle to me. The album continues to have extremely overenhanced sounding arrangements, though the synths sound pretty good indeed. During many moments The Who actually sounds like a symphonic prog group. During supposed to be quieter moments the production still attacks the listener its eardrums with ugly loud piano passages (recorded way out of pace by the way). Other pace and rhythm-anomolies continue to down-grade the band's perfect reputation and what for? Just clumsiness in a studio. A band not having its mind on the matter, which is of course the great risk of the ambitious progressive undertaking. The concept of the album gave rise to the idea to have each member sing vocals on different tracks, which again results in amateurism that could have easily been avoided with such a talanted lead-singer (and his brothers who joined in on Tommy). After the second side I'm so tired of the sound of this album, I just can't get myself to put on side three most of the time. Now I don't want to get all negative here, but I can understand that albums like this one have contributed to the downfall of prog.

Conclusion. Though I'm in minority here, I must admit I think this is yet another one of progressive rock's misguided double lp concept albums. A pitty, because the album has a big 'what could have been' feel to it. It might have been quite good had it been given a more delicate and subtle recording by a producer who can stand up against a band that is most certainly on fire here. Two and a halve stars.

friso | 3/5 |

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