May 04, 1981 12:00 PM

The Who

The warhorse quartet’s first LP since the death of drummer/ jester Keith Moon is on a par with its classic Who’s Next of a decade ago. It combines Roger Daltrey’s fiercely good-natured vocals, John Entwistle’s punchy bass, Pete Townshend’s commanding guitar and the precision of newcomer Kenny Jones on the skins. Rabbit Bundrick, informally the fifth member of The Who, adds inventive keyboard touches. Of nine tunes, Townshend wrote seven. You Better You Bet is the pick of the lot, with an anthem-like melody driven by his signature power guitar chords. The two other compositions, both Entwistle’s, are stirring and clever without being coy. For the first time in years The Who seem unapologetic about the fact they’ve been at it together since 1964. Instead of singing about how Music Must Change, as they did on their last LP, they relax and sing, “This is no social crisis/ This is you having fun.” The abandon may reflect the fruition of Townshend’s longtime allegiance to Indian avatar Meher Baba (1894-1969), whose philosophy was: “Don’t worry. Love and be happy.” While in the past they have settled differences with fisticuffs, The Who’s fascination—unlike the Rolling Stones’—is not tied to an intriguing descent into decadence. Matured, they still teem with energy, clear ideas and brave new sounds.

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