Portrait of Entwistle is the fourth installation in Western Vinyl's Portrait Series, a collection that works on a spectacular, albeit crazily ambitious, conceit: Each artist produces or procures a visual portrait (a photo, line drawing, painting, etc.), and then records two or more songs inspired by the subject of that picture (past contributors include Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Papa M, Appendix Out, and Kohn, and new work is forthcoming from The Dirty Three's Mick Turner and Robert Lippok of To Rococo Rot). With three originals and a cover of "Heaven and Hell", the fifth track off Entwistle's first solo record, 1971's Smash Your Head Against the Wall, Portrait of Entwistle is a comprehensive, brooding representation of both the record's spectral, bleeding sleeve-art (check a blurry, vein-addled skull topped with rock-ready devil horns) and the wispy, squinting spirit of Entwistle himself.
The Anomoanon is anchored by Ned Oldham, whose walloping, pointy voice is so Oldham it tickles, and he's supported here by an expectedly massive (and mostly familiar) crew: other-brother Paul Oldham, Aram Stith, Jason Stith, Dave Heumann, Jack Carneal, Mike Portera, Tony Bailey, and Willy MacNeal. Opening with Entwistle's "Heaven and Hell", a prodding, bottom-heavy rocker as good as anything Townshend ever scripted, the track morbidly wonders, "Why can't we have eternal life/ And never die?" Aram Stith's half-muted, perfectly sloppy soloing scribbles throughout, aptly resurrecting the kicky spirit of Entwistle's solo work, and showcasing Anomoanon's penchant for anti-folk noise.