|The Who: Roger Daltrey (vocals); Pete Townshend (guitar, background vocals); John "Rabbit" Bundrick (keyboards); Pino Palladino (bass guitar); Simon Townshend (drums, background vocals); Zak Starkey (drums).|
Neither time, nor the deaths of founding members, nor claims that they'll never play together again seem to stop the legendary Who. On 2006's Endless Wire, the band's first official studio full-length since 1982's It's Hard, Pete Townshend is still folding progressive structures and lofty themes into bombastic, arena-ready rock, while Roger Daltrey belts it out as though it were still 1976. The Who's 2000s-era touring band, including drummer Zak Starkey, bassist Pino Palladino, and keyboardist John Bundrick, lend enough muscle to the musical attack here to recall the Who's glory days, and a host of studio musicians help flesh out and vary the sound.
Surprisingly, all of these elements--Townshend's songwriting, Daltrey's impassioned singing, and the band's tight performances--coalesce to create a remarkably consistent whole. At its best, Endless Wire, resembles the band circaWho's Next (the synth intro to opener "Fragments," which directly references "Baba O'Reily," is a clear tip-off). In addition to nine new songs, the set also includes the EP Wire & Glass (a mini rock-opera from Townsend), which has the band rocking with more vitality than they have in decades. A bonus DVD shows the Who performing live in Lyon, France in 2006, and churning out immortal classics like "I Can't Explain" and "Won't Get Fooled Again."