Endless Wire After a 24-year gap between studio albums, guess who's back? (No, not the Guess Who, Abbott.) Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend are finally making Who… Endless Wire After a 24-year gap between studio albums, guess who's back? (No, not the Guess Who, Abbott.) Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend are finally making Who… 2006-10-31 The Who Rock
Music Review

Endless Wire (2006)

The Who, Pete Townsend, ... | ROGER AND ME Townshend and Daltry return with Wire , their first album in 24 years
Image credit: The Who: Ross Halfin
ROGER AND ME Townshend and Daltry return with Wire, their first album in 24 years
EW's GRADE
B+

Details Release Date: Oct 31, 2006; Lead Performance: The Who; Genre: Rock

After a 24-year gap between studio albums, guess who's back? (No, not the Guess Who, Abbott.) Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend are finally making Who records again, and here's an irony: Endless Wire sounds like something they ran out of time to finish. Three of the first nine numbers have Townshend singing and accompanying himself on acoustic guitar or piano, demo-style, with Daltrey MIA. Townshend plays some muted percussion, too; sadly, tour drummer Zak Starkey (Ringo's son) shows up to add full-Moon fills on just one track. The CD's second half, a 10-song ''mini-opera,'' has a more consistent band feel, but nearly every promising song fragment gets cut off after about two minutes, like Quadrophenia on fast-forward.

So they've got sprawl and focus issues. But this underproduced mess of an album also has an abundance of magnificent, quirkily anthemic songwriting — and Rog remains a great, gruff middleman, on the two-thirds of the material Pete deigns to let him sing. When Townshend's slashing guitar and Daltrey's rebel yell tangle with a bizarrely beautiful lyric — as in ''Black Widow's Eyes,'' a song about falling in love with a suicide bomber from across a crowded room — there's nothing like it. Compare all this uncompromising eccentricity and ambition with the craven commerciality of certain other boomer bands, and you won't have to think long about who's still got it.

Originally posted Nov 03, 2006 Published in issue #906 Nov 10, 2006 Order article reprints
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