The Who - Endless Wire
21 songs (58:48)
Release year: 2006
The Who Official Homepage, Universal/Republic Records Homepage
Reviewed by Jeff
Surprise of the month

Many of the rock legends I've grown up listening to have reached what many consider "the geriatric age". It's amazing that some of them have even made it this far based on the particular life styles they have lived. Yet most of them still continue to rock on. Some of the artists I'm referring to are The Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne, Judas Priest, KISS and Led Zeppelin. But there is one band imparticular that released an album last year that I completely over looked. I'm talking about The Who.

I pretty much gave up on anything The Who did after 1982's It's Hard. I recently caught a special on VH1 Classics that showed parts of their new DVD Amazing Journey: The Story of the Who. There was a segment towards the end that showed Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey performing an acoustic song called Theatre and Tea. This particular track revitalized my interest in later material. I was wondering what album, if any, this track was from. I did some research on their latest album called Endless Wire and found out that this was the album Theatre and Tea was from. I then sampled a number of tracks from Endless Wire and read some reviews on the album, which peaked my interest further. At first, I had some doubts and some hesitation as far as getting it but I finally decided to go all out and buy it. After listening to this album in its entirety from start to finish, I regret not doing it much sooner. I'm sorry I ever gave up on keeping a close ear on anything The Who did after 1982.

Many consider The Who to be Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey, John Entwistle and Keith Moon. To me, I can't help but agree. However, there are still two main staples of The Who that are left; Pete Townshend, who is pretty much the musical genius behind almost everything ever written for the band, and Roger Daltrey, the man that gives The Who a strong identity and a vehicle through which Townshends music is interpreted.

Released a little over a year ago, Endless Wire is truly an amazing rock record. I didn't think Pete Townshed had much left to offer but I was wrong. Endless Wire is the most heartfelt and emotionally charged record both musically and lyrically since Who Are You. Despite only being two-fourths of the original band, The Who have managed to capture the sounds and feelings of their prime from albums like Who's Next, Quadrophenia, By Numbers, Who Are You and even later releases like Face Dances and Pete Townshend's Scoop material. The Who use various bass players and drummers to help out with the rhythm section. All of these guest musicians really nail down the classic Who feel and sound and give the band a renewed energy. Vocally, Roger Daltrey may have lost some range but can still carry a tune. His voice is much more raspy and a bit hoarse at times. I was most concerned about how he'd sound but he's proven me wrong. And as for Pete Townshend, his guitar playing is still unique and original. He's playing instruments like the banjo and mandolin, even does some drums. The acoustic guitar is used alot and his trademark electrical guitar chops are felt throughout the record. However, I'm not too impressed with Townshend's vocals. They sound very laid back on the songs where he does lead. One imparticular track where his vocals are all over the place and sung in a way which I've never heard him sing is In The Ether. At first I thought it was Daltrey.

Endless Wire is twenty one tracks; ten of them are part of the mini rock opera Wire and Glass. My only gripe with the mini opera is that there are alot of great tracks in it but most of the songs average between one and a half and two and a half minutes in length. There are two songs in an extended version format; We Got A Hit and Endless Wire.

Tracks like Two Thousand Years and Unholy Trinity harken back to days of By Numbers with Townshend whipping out the old banjo and mandolin again. A Man In A Purple Dress and Theatre and Tea are acoustical tracks very reminiscent of songs like Behind Blue Eyes and Getting In Tune from Who's Next. Fragments is a close cousin of Baba O'Reily with the looping synth. The drumming and bass work on hard rockers like Mirror Door, We Got A Hit, Sound Round, Mike Post Theme and Pick Up The Peace make the hair on my arm stand up the same way songs like Punk Meets The Godfather and Doctor Jimmy from Quadropehnia did when I first heard them. Trilby's Piano sounds like it could have came from on of Townshend's Scoop collections, using piano and string arrangements to help give it a melancholy feel. The title track Endless Wire almost sounds Tom Petty-ish ala Into The Great Wide Open or even Free Falling.

Ever since I picked up this CD I have not been able to put it down. It is starting to have a staying power that matches any of The Who albums I already mentioned.

Remember, age is only a number and you are only as old as you feel. May Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey and all of the other rockers I mentioned at the beginning of this review rock until they drop!


Killing Songs :
Fragments, A Man In A Purple Dress, Mike Post Theme, Black Widow's Eyes, Two Thousand Years, Sound Round, Pick Up The Peace, Unholy Trinity, Endless Wire, We Got A Hit, Mirror Door, Tea & Theatre
Jeff quoted 86 / 100
Other albums by The Who that we have reviewed:
The Who - Tommy reviewed by Jeff and quoted CLASSIC
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