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Lindsey Buckingham - Lindsey Buckingham (Album Review)

Wednesday, 29 September 2021 Written by Simon Ramsay

As wrenching as the split first appears, there’s some weight to the idea that getting fired from Fleetwood Mac was the best thing that could have happened to Lindsey Buckingham. His former bandmates are happy to live off their history as a touring jukebox, but the guitarist’s first solo album in a decade shows he perhaps shouldn’t be wasting his time going through the motions.

Completed three years ago, prior to his dismissal, and repeatedly delayed by a variety of factors, including well publicised health issues, marital strife and Covid-19, this sublime self-titled effort is a masterclass in sun-blanched transatlantic pop-rock, underscored by earthy folk sensibilities and flush with elegant melodies and spellbinding harmonies. If this were a Fleetwood Mac album it would be hailed as both late stage classic and a fitting recorded swan song.

Buckingham knows how to make a chorus land. In tandem with sage chord changes and shimmering six-string embellishments, the sublime vocal arrangements on I Don’t Mind, Santa Rosa and Blind Love are spine-tingling as their refrains take hold. 

The fact he performed all those harmonies himself, before subtly tweaking them to ape his old band’s style, is remarkable.

Where previous solo records often serviced Buckingham’s experimental tendencies, this is a more commercial, straightforward offering. That said, both Power Down—which cheekily mimics the riff to Stevie Nicks’ Edge of Seventeen—and Swan Song use funky beats and clever vocal effects to add contemporary flavours, with the latter blending modern R&B with EDM rhythms and fizzing flamenco outbursts without sacrificing stylistic cohesion or accessibility.

Although the record’s themes are open to interpretation, nods to Fleetwood Mac abound. On The Wrong Side, a musically effervescent, but emotionally conflicted, romp in the mould of Go Your Own Way, he reveals how he became lost in all the never-ending melodrama. Closing lullaby Dancing, if aimed at a certain former lover, is as sonically sweet as it is poetically scathing.

An awareness of life’s ticking clock has, over the years, grown increasingly prominent in Buckingham’s writing, and his fittingly melancholic cover of The Pozo-Seco Singers’ Time boasts added poignancy now the spectre of mortality has become a tangible, encroaching reality.

All things considered, it’s disappointing to hear Buckingham say he’d happily rejoin Fleetwood Mac, but there’s always been a push and pull between his need for widespread recognition and desire to satiate the restless artist within. Having repeatedly been there, done that and set his legacy in stone, it’s time to leave the soap opera in the rear-view.

Lindsey Buckingham Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Tue May 17 2022 - DUBLIN Helix
Thu May 19 2022 - GLASGOW SEC Armadillo
Sat May 21 2022 - LIVERPOOL Philharmonic Hall
Sun May 22 2022 - LONDON Palladium

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