guterman.clips.Joe Walsh

Joe Walsh
The Confessor
Warner Bros.
(review appeared in the 4 July 1985 Rolling Stone)

And you thought the Seventies were over. Judging from Joe Walsh's new LP, they never went awy. The Confessor has wah-wah pedals, guitar epics, and lyrics too corny for a greeting card. Walsh is trying to make the kind of record he used to make a decade ago, and the result is, well, out of date.

You can tell from the cover that Big Statements are being made here: It's a famous painting by nineteenth-century romantic Caspar David Friedrick, although if I remember correctly, the original did not have a grainy photo of Walsh superimposed on it. The title track, clocking in at over seven minutes, finds Walsh singing about standing over a well, finding his reflection in the water below, and pondering it. Like, cosmic. The guitars around his gradually build from soft folk to James Gang heavy metal, but there's noe xcitement: The setting is too self-important for the music to cut loose. Even when Walsh plays jokester on "I Broke My Leg," he spends so much time setting up the punch line that when it comes, it's not funny. The band Walsh uses, mostly L.A. sessions stalwarts, is competent but uninspired, which compounds the problem. Had Walsh entered the studio with less solemn material and a less-enervated band, he might have had a chance at making a record that didn't sound like something out of a 1975 time capsule.

 

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