I know what you're thinking - The Who is NOT prog, and you'd be right if it wasn't for this album.
Quadrophenia marks a point in The Who's catalouge where high ideals and talent combined to form one of the great concept albums of our time. The story is based on a young troubled Mod called Jimmy - only existing in post-war England, trying to find his identity. His personality has become split in four (representing the four members of the band) with corresponding musical themes -
A tough guy, a helpless dancer.
A romantic, is it me for a moment?
A bloody lunatic, I'll even carry your bags.
A beggar, a hypocrite, love reign over me.
Schizophrenic? I'm Bleeding Quadrophenic....
However the story is just the package this incredible music is housed within. Never before (or again for that matter) did The Who's music rage with such passion and prescision. Delicate yet intricate synths weave through and support devestating guitar runs, all launched into the stratosphere by the STUNNING rhythm section of John Entwistle and Keith Moon. Individual and recurring musical themes, counter melodies, meaningful sound effects, and brilliant lyrics (delivered by all four members of the band) raise this music out of the gutter-trench rock finds itself in all too often, and into the realm of the truly spectacular.
Passion and intellect abound throughout this work, keeping the listener consistantly exhilirated until the climactic ending, which juxtaposes spiritual awakening against the realization that all the answers have been inside of you since the beginning.
I cannot reccomend this album highly enough. Unlike other two disc concept albums, there's not a duff track in the lot. Individual tracks stand on their own, as well as compliment and move forward the story. Fans of powerful, meaningful symphonic prog should eat this up with a spoon.
By the by - the German pressing of the CD features a somewhat different mix, as the master tapes used for the release were from the proposed quadrophonic mix.
ROGER DALTREY - Lead Vocals.
JOHN ENTWISTLE - Bass Guitar, Brass, Vocals.
KEITH MOON - Drums/Percussion
PETE TOWNSHEND - Electric & Acoustic guitar, synthesizers, keyboards, Vocals.