Lindsey Buckingham: Gift of Screws (Warners)

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Lindsey Buckingham: Treason
Lindsey Buckingham: Gift of Screws (Warners)

Although he came to attention as a (very) soft-rocker with his partner Stevie Nicks in the days before they joined Fleetwood Mac, Buckingham was the one in the group whose music was the most interesting . . . and often challenging.

Around the time of Tusk in 79 while Stevie was still crafting those glorious ballads (Sara), Buckingham had heeded what the punks and New Wave were saying and was bringing a brittleness to his music. So it's maybe no real surprise that two tracks on this, his fifth solo album, are produced by Rob Cavallo known for his work with Green Day and My Chemical Romance.

Elements of classic-Mac are here too (Mick Fleetwood and John McVie appear on the fiddle-enhanced rocker Wait For You and the title track, Fleetwood on The Right Place to Fade) but what is here is mostly typically challenging material from Buckingham where he twists melodies, adds staccato guitar (and a couple of sky-scaling solos) and edgy rhythms to his melodic material.

The more pop-rock tracks are the least succesful (the title track could have been written in an hour) and Love Runs Deeper sounds like it was crafted for Styx-shaped stadium.

But from the stabbing opener Great Day which unsettles expectation of Mac-flavoured pop-rock immediately through the acoustic maelstrom and pained Time Precious Time, the acoustic drive of the urgent Bel Air Rain (about having no right to complain when life has been so good to you) and on to the two closers -- the melancholy pop of Underground and Treason -- serve to remind that Buckingham, still a glum and reflective lyricist, was always one or two steps to the left of the mainstream. And he hasn't moved. 

 

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