October 30, 2020

1981-04-18 – The Courier News

1981 04 18 The_Courier_News_Sat__Apr_18__1981_ 2

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The Who show signs of (listless) age on their latest album

Continued from Page B4

Who on the fringe of never-never land.
They were an uncompromising rock ’n’
roll band that never seemed to lose their
lust for life.

On the Who’s recent tours, Kenny Jones
was able to faithfully duplicate Moon’s
licks, so you could at least hope it wasn’t
over. But a new studio album is another
question.

The problem isn’t really Jones’ fault at
all, of course.
Townshend’s main thrust in his song-

writing on “Face Dances” deals with
growing old and the alienation and misgiv-
ings that entails. But these are not the
piercing questions Townshend summed up
with the late ’705 “WHO ARE YOU?"
Anger and rebellion has become listless
acquiescence and wistful thinking.

And Daltry matches Townshend nail for
nail in sealing the coffin. Just as he rose to
brilliance in singing Townshend’s rallying
cries with a passionate rage, his voice
sinks to a nondescript level, becoming
virtually unrecognizable on “How Can
You Do It Alone. ”

Adding to the situation, the production
is as compressed and depressing as the
Who’s vision.

“Cache Cache” and the single, “You
Better You Bet,” are about the only
Townshend songs worth listening to, and
that's only if you ignore the inexplicably
absurd lyries (specially the chorus to
“You Better You Bet” — I’ve seen better
imagery from 8th graders). Even respect
won’t allow the others much further atten-
tion.

John Entwistle’s two selections are up
to his usual standards, but he’s really only

been a sideline for the band. Regrettably.
his perseverance won’t save the Who.
Townshend’s solo efforts, ”Rough Mix"
and “Empty Glasses," are great albums.
indicatingthathemstillrevitupfora
different vehicle, albeit a commercial
one. He wouldn’t be the first to trade in a
’66 aievy for a new Firebird. Maybe it’s
just the familiar a of the Who
that reminds them of all the years.
Inanycase,ifthisistheaid.let’shope
it’s swift and merciful. I couldn’t stand to
see the Who suffer through a lumbering,

fingering death.
-S'I'EVE unowm