Picks and Pans Review: Psychoderelict

updated 07/05/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/05/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Pete Townshend

Story lines aren't Pete Townshend's strong point. Even his musical Tommy, now thrilling crowds on Broadway 24 years after he created it, needed some replotting. And Psycho-Derelict, the concept album for Townshend's latest musical, makes Tommy look like a model of simplicity.

Here we have the story of a washed-up rocker who gets entangled in a hoax-ridden comeback planned by his manager and a corrupt journalist. This melodrama, overstuffed with who-knew-what-when twists and weighed down by lyrical significance, intrudes upon the songs in the form of dramatized soundbites.

Nevertheless, these tunes glow with vitality. The riffs come at you with just the right amount of Who-like snap, Townshend's voice crackles with gusto, and he combines tenderness with sweet pop on "Now and Then" and "I Am Afraid." Townshend may have thought the play's the thing with PsychoDerelict, but he was wrong. Rock and roll is. (Atlantic)

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