Album: The Who <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

Endless Wire, POLYDOR
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The Independent Culture

With both Moon and Entwistle gone, there's only half of The Who left - sadly appropriate, as this is only half a Who album, really. The grand swagger one expects only arrives when Zak Starkey's drums punch along "Black Widow's Eyes", a song about being transfixed by a suicide bomber's eyes just before she detonates. Elsewhere, the energy seems dissipated through weak arrangements - a "Baba O'Riley"-esque sequenced synthesiser for "Fragments", a Tom Waits-wannabe blend of piano and gravel voice for "In the Ether", and a weedy alliance of cello and mandolin for "2000 Years", a song about Judas's destiny which is one of several religious-themed pieces here. But any goodwill built up via the themes of spiritual isolation and religious hypocrisy in the album's first half is squandered on the mini-opera Wire & Glass, which comprises the latter half, a preposterous fantasy about a mixed-belief trio (Catholic, Muslim and Jew) whose music aims to bring the world together, until the Jew shoots the Catholic - though it could all be being dreamed by a washed-up old rocker in a sanatorium.

DOWNLOAD THIS: 'Black Widow's Eyes', 'A Man in a Purple Dress'

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