October 26, 2020

1981-05-01 – News Press

1981 05 01 News_Press_Fri__May_1__1981_

*tttFort M ers News-Press.Frida ,Ma 1,1981 70

The Who branches out without losing its roots

Gannon News Service

And they lay it'ljuotutagein lite

But I know by now the problem is
a stage

And they say just take your time
and it‘ll go away

But I know by now I’m never gon-
na change

— in- ‘Daily Records." h Pete
Townshend y

Nearly 20 years after they burst on
to the rock scene in a cloud of smoke.
a wave of feedback and a pile of
smashed instruments. The Who re-
mains one of the most vital and chal-
lenging rock bands still playing

For proof. you need only listen to
the English quartet's new album.
“Face Dances" (Warner Bros. HS
3518). the group's first on a new label.
It is a complex. mature album that
reflects the changes The Who has
gone through in the past three yeais
— yet it never loses the essential
energy of rock 'n' roll.

“Face Dances" is The Who's first
album in nearly three years. The
band's last effort, “Who Are You."
released in the summer at 1978. pre-
ceded by mere weeks the death 0!
Keith Moon. the group’s clown and its
rhythmic driving force. A maniac be-
hind a drumset, he charged the music
with a free-spirited zest that made
him one of rock's finest drummers.

Yet the band played on after
Moon's death, recruiting Kenny
Jones, formerly of The Faces. to re-
place him. J ones has toured with the
band since, finding his niche and. in
the process, altering the group’s
sound slightly.

The new album offers a couple of
other differences. The group is
recording for Warner Bros. Records,
after years on Decca and then MCA.
Instead of producer Glyn J ones. The
Who worked this time with producer
Bill Szymczyk. best known for his
work with the Eagles.

The guiding force. however, re-
mains Pete Townshend. the lead gui-
tarist. He wrote seven of the nine
songs on “Face Dances" (the other
two are by basist John Entwistle).


. . .trom left. John Entwistle, Kenny Jones. Roger Daltrey and Peter Townshend

Townshend, one 01 the pioneers of
rock-guitar playing, has put together
a group of son§ that continue his
examination of romance and the
rock life that began years ago and
could be heard most recently on his

solo album, "Empty Glass," released '

last year.

Several of Townshend’s son§ cen-
ter on obligation and its deadening
effect: on art, on sex and on love. The
album's single. "You Better You
Bet," depicts a man trying to balance
a relationship with a demanding
woman: "When I say I love you, you
say ‘You better!" Roger Daltrey’s vo-
cal has bitter bite and knowing cyni-
cism, fueled by Townshend's rave-up

Similarly, "Daily Records" deals
with a sense of obligation to be true to
oneself, rather than to trends. Town-
shend ponders the state of music and

his commitment to it in an era when a
band looks has become more import-
ant than the music they produce:

“I just don’t quite know how to
wear my hair no more

No sooner cut it than they cut it
even more.”

Townshend's wry humor is intact,
in spite of the band's turmoil. In “An-
other Tricky Day," he advises listen-
ers to get used to the flux of daily life,

“This is no social crisis

This is you having fun.”

The rest of the songs crackle with
electricity. whether it's the sadly
quizzical "How Can You Do It Alone."
the enigmatic “Cache Cache" or the
unconciliatory “Did You Steal My
Money.” Entwistle's songs “The Qui-
et One" and ”You" have that familiar
Who snap and sinle, as well as their
share of bon mots. as in “You." a

nasty tune about a teasing female:

“You lead me on like a lamb to the

Then you act like a fish out of

The music ranges from the double-
time waltz of “Daily Records" to the
straight-ahead power of "Another
Tricky Day.” in many ways. the
sound is closer to mid-career Who
(“Happy Jack." "Magic Bus") than to
the earlier guitar tree-ior-alls or the
group's later stylistic explorations on
albums like “Tommy" and “Quadro-

“Face Dances" shows an older, but
wiser Who. still making solid rock 'n’
roll but from the vantage point of
lengthy experience at their craft. It is
a bright. involving album, revealinga
band that uses its maturity to broaden
its approach. rather than limiting it-
self to what works.

Early Who sound
found in Jags work

THE JAGS: “No Tie Like A Present” (Island)

Ganneti News Service

For a group that wasn't ionned until the late ‘705, the Jafi have a
strangely old-iashioned sound. Basic rock 'n‘ roll, they call it, “sharp and up
front.” The press kit with their album says they chose their name at the
suggestion oia friend because it was “short. sharp and to the point." it wasa

good choice.

The tunes are full of catchy hooks; the instrumentation is not padded
with studio session players; the sound is clean and hard. Sometimes it puts
you in mind of the early Who. about the time they were doing “Can‘t
Explain" and "Substitute."

Lead singer Nick Watkinson, the group's co-leader. even manages a
Who—like stutter on a few of the tunes ("G-oh-oh-oh D-B-Y-E")

Of course. this isn't a comparison that will go too far. Watkinson is no
Roger Daltry as a singer and guitarist J ohn Alder, the other co-leader, isn't
going to make anyone forget Who leader Pete Townshend.

But they are both effective in their own ways. Watkinson's flat.
sometimes rasping voice works well on song like ”Fearing A Tornado."
which is good basic rock ’n' roll it anything is. and on “Another Road,

Another Place."
Perhaps the biggest triumph is in avoiding the false innocence of '60s

rock without taking all the fun out of the music. They manage considerable
ironicai detachment in tunes like "I Never was A Beachboy" and “Another
Road. Another Town." where they mockingiy sing:

Didn't they tell you

How big we are?

Didn't they tell you

We’re going to be the next big stars?

Probably they won't be the next big stars. But with a couple of
exceptions (like the bombastic instrumental ”Silver Birds") their sound is
crisp, invigorating and recorded especially well. The music is nothing new,
but it's nice to hear it done right.



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