Picks and Pans Review: The Confessor

updated 06/10/1985 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/10/1985 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Joe Walsh

Any empty-nest syndrome that ensued after the Eagles went their separate ways has nothing to do with the record racks. Ex-members of the phenomenally popular California group—Don Felder, Randy Meisner, Tim Schmit, Glenn Frey and Don Henley—have all established solo bins for themselves, with mixed results. Guitarist Walsh already had a solid reputation when he joined the Eagles for Hotel California. His third album since the breakup is economical but striking. There is nothing wasted on this guitar-percussion blend, particularly on Walsh's spare, incisive solos. All the Walsh signature touches are back: vocoder, ripping slide guitar, chunky chord work, wacky reggae influences. But Walsh's most endearing trait has always been his sense of humor. (Remember his self-mocking hit Life's Been Good.) That wit is evident on I Broke My Leg, which details a whirlwind May-to-June romance. It also surfaces on 15 Years, a sardonic celebration of the glories of a guitar hero's career: "Fifteen years of rock 'n' roll, fifteen years on the road/ Fifteen years my guitar and me played every song we know." The irony extends to the melody, which sounds like a chain-gang dirge. Like most of the songs here, 15 Years is simple and relaxed. The ex-Eagle seems to be in a thermal draft, soaring without expending any effort. (Warner Bros.)

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