Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Reviews: Lindsey Buckingham "Seeds We Sow" This follow-up is a more typical Buckingham

Lindsey Buckingham
Seeds We Sow

There’s a reason Lindsey Buckingham is portrayed as the aloof-and-silent type on Saturday Night Live’s “What’s Up With That?”: In real life, he’s always seemed that way. Yet his songs with Fleetwood Mac—many of which he sang—remain some of the most heartrendingly intimate ever committed to mass consciousness. His solo work since Mac’s prime has been hit or miss, but 2008’s Gift Of Screws was a beautiful reminder of Buckingham’s bygone directness and warmth. His new album, Seeds We Sow, sees him shying away again. But not always in a bad way.

Seeds’ biggest barrier is one Buckingham has always shielded himself with: the studio. Otherwise stunning folk-rock gems such as “Stars Are Crazy” and the disc’s title track drown stark, naked folk in staccato reverb and air-conditioned acoustics. Often, though, Buckingham elicits gooseflesh for the right reasons. “Illumination” is a sharp, accusatory screed that vibrates like a Tusk outtake, and “In Our Own Time” wrings sorcery out of Buckingham’s signature finger-picked arpeggios and haunted swathes of harmony. But where Gift Of Screws showcased the unforced and immediate passion of his voice, even the best moments on Seeds feel as though they’re being heard through a stethoscope placed upon Buckingham’s chest.

One thing Buckingham has never forgotten, though, is how to construct albums with the consummate balance and gravity-defying magic of an architect. After laying a foundation of sprawling airiness and sumptuous overdubs, he tops Seeds with “She Smiled Sweetly,” a bittersweet, almost medieval-sounding love song that falters and quivers like collapsing lungs. And when he closes the track—and the album—with what might be the soft, breathy aftershock of a kiss, he once again cuts through all the effects and atmospherics to deliver a little raw piece of his heart.

By Jason Heller
A.V. Club

Lindsey Buckingham
Seeds We Sow (Mind Kit)

With 2008’s Gift of Screws, Lindsey Buckingham proved he could make a vintage Fleetwood Mac-sounding album all (largely) by himself. This follow-up is a more typical Buckingham solo set — meaning that the pop mastery is still here, but the overall feel is darker and more insular. He does seem in a more downcast mood than usual, whether that’s due to romantic troubles, advancing age, or the state of the nation (the foreboding “End of Time” alludes to all three). And the best moments here are indeed melancholy: “When She Comes Down” echoes the soaringly sad feel of Mac’s “Walk a Thin Line,” and the closing cover, “She Smiled Sweetly,” has a verge-of-tears vocal that makes it more affecting than the Rolling Stones’ original. With nobody else in the studio, Buckingham alternates stripped-down acoustic numbers with full-band facsimiles. That said, even the loudest songs here — like the topical “One Take,” which includes one of his most ferocious guitar solos ever — don’t detract from the album’s late-night, down-there mood.

Sound and Vision

No comments:

Post a Comment