The Who – Endless Wire (2006)

Share this:

In the brilliant, circular overture of synthesizer and riff that opens 2006’s “Endless Wire” we find a triumph for what’s left of the Who.

“Fragment,” as a tune, is everything this band should have been doing instead of slowly but surely turning itself into a too-old streetwalker with its faded party hat on crooked.

It’s simultaneously familiar, yet utterly new — an echo that doesn’t repeat itself so much as deepen — in the cracks that encircle Roger Daltrey’s voice, and the slowing of Pete Townshend’s ever-turning windmill — into something like a fine wine.

So, they go and mess it up later. OK. For “Fragments,” and maybe even “Fragments” alone, they can be forgiven for continuing past the untimely deaths of the entire rhythm section. But only just.

Not that there aren’t moments. This album’s “Black Widow’s Eyes” has a kind of broken beauty familiar to anyone with “Who’s Next” on vinyl. “Two Thousand Years,” with soaring violins and plucky guitar, also blows through like a brisk breeze.

But the now-inevitable mini-opera, more than two decades after the last original release from this band, sounds like the thing a Who album ought to have rather than something included as inspiration. Rote, rather than right.

Skip right to the remix of “Fragments,” where bits of that remarkable construction from Track 1 are blown apart then put back together again. It’s a nice metaphor for what’s happened to the Who — and far guttier than anything else on the second half of the album.

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
Share this:
Close