Erase all preconceptions. The Who are back and on their first album in 24 years they have managed to shatter all expectations. Somehow Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey rekindled the magic of years past to create an album that can stand alongside Tommy and Who’s Next without looking inferior. It’s that impeccable.
From the very start of the album, the listener is thrown back to the band’s glory days and welcomed by a keyboard lick notably similar to that of “Baba O’Riley.” The album’s cover art also hints at the past through the inclusion of doves, which were featured on the cover of Tommy. Speaking of Tommy, their groundbreaking work with rock operas is again revisited on the second half of the disc dubbed, “Wire & Glass.”
While there are many similarities to their previous releases, it would be incredibly closed-minded to categorize the disc as a recycled collection of formulas that have proven successful in the past. Well-crafted songwriting is responsible for the disc’s strong foundation and the group’s punk attitude reemerges on “Black Widow’s Eyes,” a sweet little ditty that tells the tale of a man who falls in love with a suicide bomber just before falling victim to her attack.
Other rock and roll moments emerge during “A Man In A Purple Dress,” where Mel Gibson’s portrayal of Jesus Christ is sharply criticized, and in “It’s Not Enough,” where a man begs for reciprocated attraction from his partner, only to receive nothing in return.
On Endless Wire, Pete Townshend has, by some miraculous feat, brought the magic of The Who back to life. The music may be fresh and the band is two members short, but by listening to the album you would never know. It’s that solid.