Gift of Screws
On his 2006 album, Under the Skin, Lindsey Buckingham confessed he cares what people think of his efforts to never repeat the wildly successful formula of Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 landmark, Rumours.
“Reading the paper saw a review / Said I was a visionary, but nobody knew / Now that’s been a problem.”
OK Lindsey, you’re a genius. Now, must you be so self-indulgent in trying to prove it?
Technically, Gift of Screws has some of Buckingham’s best-written, catchiest solo songs. That’s what makes this album’s failings so frustrating.
The hook-filled Love Runs Deeper and The Right Place to Fade could be Fleetwood Mac hits from the Go Your Own Way period. But Buckingham overproduces everything. Where his earliest music had room to breathe, now he stifles it with avalanches of vocal, guitar and percussion overdubs. He sings in a breathy, exaggerated manner. As a result, simple rock songs turn arty and insufferable.
Worse, for an artist for whom repetition is anathema, he seems locked into that finger-picking flamenco style on guitar he employed to such rousing effect on 1997’s live renditions of Big Love and Go Insane. Now, on tracks like the spiraling irritant Time Precious Time, the sound has degenerated into pinpricks on the brain. There’s a great album here buried under all this fussiness.
Pod Picks:Love Runs Deeper, The Right Place to Fade, Did You Miss Me.
— HOWARD COHEN