Thursday, June 15, 2017

Album Review: "Buckingham-McVie", by Buckingham-McVie

Ever since long time Fleetwood Mac keyboardist Christine McVie rejoined the band back in 2014, many fans of the band have been thrilled and have been hounding on whether or not there was to be a new album. However, many hopes were dashed when vocalist Stevie Nicks said that she had no desire to do such a thing due to the fact that putting all that time, effort, money, and soul into something would be a waste considering no one would buy it. However, that was not going to stop the rest of the band from being creative. The result: a collaboration album between Christine McVie and guitarist Lindsey Buckingham titled Buckingham-McVie.

What makes Buckingham-McVie even more special is that it features Fleetwood Mac bassist John McVie and drummer Mick Fleetwood as the rhythm section. Essentially, this album was made by Fleetwood Mac sans-Nick (which in my opinion is an improvement). It was written and recorded over the past three years at Studio D at the Village Recorder, where Fleetwood Mac had written and recorded their acclaimed 1979 album Tusk in order to recapture some of the band's old musical chemistry.

Buckingham-McVie is like going into uncharted territory, but with an old friend at your side. It's still the kind of light soft pop rock you would come to expect from Fleetwood Mac, but turning a corner you didn't anticipate. You can definitely tell that they wanted to recapture some of the old Fleetwood Mac sound, but take it into some new directions in order to keep from getting stale and making the same albums over and over again as so many older artists are prone to do.

Moments where some of the older Fleetwood Mac sound shows through is in tunes like In My World, especially in the rhythm section. That McVie/Fleetwood rhythm machine is unmistakable no matter what the context. Red Sun sounds like a classic Christine McVie lead song. It is rather simplistic love-lorn pop ballad, but that's all it needs to be. For the most part it sounds like it could have easily been from their 70's/80's heyday. What really knocks it out of the part is the vocal harmonies in the chorus. They're incredibly rich and filling.

You can definitely tell this is a newer album though not just in the crisp, clear audio production, but just in some of the musical styles of the songs. Most of the album for the most part sounds fresh, although you can swear you have heard some of these songs before on your local light rock radio stations.

That is not to say that there is nothing original and new about them, but I swear I've heard countless tunes like Sleeping Around the Corner and Feel About You over the years with the kinds of basic tambourine and drum rhythm and vocal melodies and harmonies. I cut them some slack though because Fleetwood Mac invented pop rock as we know it today.

What I appreciate about Buckingham-McVie is all of its minor subtleties in terms of production. This is most certainly a headphone album because if you're listening close enough you can catch so many little details you might have easily missed otherwise. The stereo aspects of the production also make it that much richer of an experience. Lindsey Buckingham of course is one of the best producers of all time, so that definitely helped the album in this case.

Overall I wouldn't call Buckingham-McVie groundbreaking or a modern classic, but it is a very solid album. It shows that Fleetwood Mac still has a lot of chemistry and many things left to say as musicians. Nicks was definitely mistaken to pass up on this, but I think her absence made it that much stronger of an album. You can tell everyone was just trying to have fun and not trying to live up to a legacy or stroke their egos. It just goes to show you this band can still make good music without all the Rumours-era kind of drama going on. That said, you're sure to find some tunes on it that you like and find yourself singing along to often.

Buckingham-McVie, by Buckingham-McVie receives 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Sleeping Around the Corner
2. Feel About You
3. In My World
4. Red Sun
5. Love is Here to Say
6. Too Far Gone
7. Lay Down for Free
8. Game of Pretend
9. On With the Show
10. Carnival Begin

Buy the album on Amazon:

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