I was so excited about this album I did something I don’t normally do and couldn’t keep up with if it became the norm: I wrote a gushing “preview” basically suggesting the greatness of the album and anticipating it after just one listen, also surveying the past solo catalogue.
I’m a Buckingham fan through and through, always have been – and though I’ve enjoyed every version of Fleetwood Mac and seen the band live with and without Lindsey on stage it’s his special sonic ingredient that I think of first-equal with Peter Green’s. And these days I’m more about the Lindsey songs than almost any other version of the group.
His solo career has long fascinated me but this self-titled album might be his very best. It arrived, too, with the twin baggage of being the record that got him booted from the Mac (this time) and being recorded just ahead of the health complications that threatened to sideline him from touring (or recording) again. Fortunately, he appears to have made a full-enough recovery and is on the road.
The last two official Fleetwood Mac studio offerings, a double-album crammed down into one very long-player and a super-short EP, were both basically seeded from aborted Buckingham solo projects. His songwriting being what gets the band in the studio again.
This time he wanted to keep the songs for himself. More so than on any of his solo albums since the early 1990s you can hear how these would have worked as Mac songs. But good on him for keeping them for himself.
His melodic gifts shine and several of the tunes – opener Scream, big single I Don’t Mind and the sublime Swan Song – show how this pop songwriting master uses the guitar solo as a hinge and is able to conjure superb pop melodies still; in great vocal form and instrumentally dazzling as always.
I wish Buckingham would value drums more – so keen on making ‘solo’ albums he resorts to simple, lazy drum programming and I’d love to hear him backed by, if not Mick, then some other great, real drummer. That’s the only real nit to pick here. The album is close to perfect otherwise – and shines and shines.
There are throwbacks to Buckingham/Nicks (Time), to his 80s rockabilly/shuffle-influenced solo tunes (Blue Light) and nothing as insular as his 00s/’10s recordings. Instead, even the most multi-vocal and blindingly brilliant guitar-led pieces, such as Power Down, don’t give off the claustrophobic and exhausting vibes. They just sound bursting with life and energy and infectious pop magic.
I’m still finding a new favourite song each time – after listening to it most days for weeks on end.
I can’t say I expected that when I first went in, when I pre-emptively gushed about the magic Lindsey has offered. Here he bursts with brilliance again.