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The Who - Endless Wire CD (album) cover


The Who



2.88 | 84 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars Always a very risky business, coming back to public eye after such a long absence (although the group did some live appearance), but doing so while only two members were still alive was even riskier, since Entwistle always brought much to the group. Was rthiss going to be a Townshend solo album with Daltrey singing or would it be a real Who album??? Well it's safe top say it's a Who album, Peter talking care that it does sound as if the full group (or at leasxt The Ox) was still there. The album is separated in two entities, the first beuing a bunch of unrelated tracks where Townshend plays almost everything, except for Daltrey singing, while the "flipside" is a rock opera where bassist Palladino, keyboardist Brundick and drummer Huntington are helping out on most tracks.

Opening on the Riley-esque Fragments is obviously winking at their top Who's next album, which is a dangerous game because the rest of the album should follow. And of course you can guess it doesn't. But in itself Fragments isn't a bad tune, Pete pulling some nice guitars, and the chorus is catchy enough. Mike Post Theme is also Who-worthy track, Black Widow's Eyes as well, but we'll remember mainly the very good It's Not Enough All of these tracks mentioned so far would make for an album that would stack up with By Numbers. Then there are the simpler tracks with Pete on acoustic guitar or piano) and Roger singing like Purple Dress (an acoustic semi-blues), God Speaks, You Stand By Me etc?. are not really Who tracks and would fit perfectly a Townshend solo album.

The mini-rock opera fills the flipside (if you'll allow me to speak of it as a vinyl), the 20-mins Wire & Glass, I can't say it's sinking in at all, even if some bits (Fragments Of Fragments) are obvious. Whether Mirror Door was recorded live or not or was the suite built naturally or is it a patchwork of tracks, I don't know for sure, but it doesn't often sound like the 70's Who to me. W&G's not bad, but it pales in comparison to Peter's previous rock operas?.

The Deluxe edition comes with a live album dating from the French tour (in Lyon) and featuring the group as a sextet, with Ringo's son on the stool, Pino at bass and Brundick on keys, but also Peter's son on 2nd guitar and vocals. While only one track from the present album is featured, the rest being oldies (but goodies) like Fooled, Naked Eye or Who Are You, but also lesser classic such as Relay or Greyhound Girl. Unless you're a complete fan, it's not really essential to own this deluxe disc, because the live performance is not that powerful or even that inspiring and it shows by the audience's reactions, slightly more than polite applause, but no real madness. The new album is not as good as one could've hoped for, but it's also far from catastrophic either , as one could've feared, and is on the level of By Numbres and better than Face Dances and It's Hard, but I'll pass on it.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |


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