Monday, September 05, 2011

LINDSEY BUCKINGHAM 'Seeds We Sow' ★★★★ 1/2 Stars / 5

Lindsey Buckingham 
Seeds We Sow 
(Mind Kit) 
★★★★ 1/2 Stars (out of 5)

It's a good year for the two pillars of Fleetwood Mac's best-known records.

Stevie Nicks, forever the group's most identifiable face in her space-cadet witch regalia, surprised skeptics in May with the unexpectedly solid In Your Dreams. Lindsey Buckingham, the real visionary behind the lush, sparkling Mac sound that once sold records into the platinum stratosphere, does not surprise us at all: with Seeds We Sow, he delivers yet another terrific collection of songs.

Buckingham's solo career has been a matter of one reliable gem after another, so there's always a danger of simply taking his modest little masterworks for granted. The multi-instrumentalist and gifted songwriter never returns to form because the standard has yet to slip.

Like his last two releases, Under the Skin (2006) and Gift of Screws (2008), the new disc - his sixth studio recording and first self-released effort - is defined by Buckingham's hyperactive acoustic fingerpicking and ultra-melodic hooks. The wonderfully familiar pattern is quickly established by the title track, which opens the album, and In Our Own Time, which follows it.

As usual, one of Buckingham's most intriguing quirks is that it's sometimes hard to lock into the groove of his songs: a chorus will come around and you're looking for the natural place to move your head with the rhythm. In Our Own Time and That's the Way That Love Goes are perfect examples. On the latter, the guitarist wails contentedly with two bare-bones electric solos.

Playing virtually all the instruments and doing his own producing and mixing, Buckingham manages to make an insular work sound far-reaching and timeless. Rockers like Illumination and One Take alternate with dreamier tracks like Gone Too Far, which is the most obvious Mac sound-alike on the disc, and When She Comes Down, which evokes the Irish folksong Wild Mountain Thyme as well as Brian Wilson's sunnier choral beds.

Once again, Buckingham raids the deep tracks in the Rolling Stones' mid-`60s catalogue. Having covered I Am Waiting on Under the Skin, he closes the new album with a haunting version of She Smiled Sweetly, surely one of the most tuneful beauties in the Mick Jagger and Keith Richards oeuvre.

If the recurring themes of betrayal and distance add a blue note to the proceedings, the music on this disc overflows with joy. Never take it for granted.

- Bernard Perusse

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I just finished listening to Lindsey Buckingham's new release Seeds We Sow. I really really wanted to like this CD. Especially with how fantastic Stevie Nicks' release was. I'm sorry, I just don't. It does not even come close. "Recurring themes"? Yes! It was like one long run-on sound. This CD is not even worth ripping off the free sites let alone the $3.99 special Amazon offerred it at..
Strikes me as rather funny too, since the "non" Musician of the duo came out with the more musical creation...
Z

Nickslive said...

You write-off the cd after one listen? Interesting...

Anonymous said...

Not really, I got to listen to an advance of it, so have listened several times. And I did truly want to like this CD. The songs he did on Say You Will are some of my favorites. Fresh and interesting to listen to. Usually you can find layers and nuances in the music that keep the music exciting and interesting no matter how many times you hear the songs. As a rule, I really look forward to new stuff from Lindsey Buckingham, but this group of songs just does not have that aspect. And comes off over-worked, tired and actually, even a little abrasive to the ear. If not for the fade between some of the cuts, you could even think they were one continuous song. What this CD collection comes off as, is perhaps trying too hard... ?
Z
Oh one last thing.. Usually, even on songs in the past that weren't ones I loved .. he won me over with the guitar work. This time even that, though wondrous still, did not pull it off for me. In fact, I think some of the songs even suffered from some over kill..

Anonymous said...

Over kill was not what quite what I was trying to say, so much as some of the songs just got buried in the over abundance of the finger work.... ?
I am not a music critic, I just know I love music.
I will more then likely listen several more times as it is Lindsey Buckingham and you can always learn from hearing the master play anything,,,, "_)
Z

Nickslive said...

Okay... I respect your opinion thanks for fleshing it out a little more. So given that you are comparing it to songs on Say You Will, what did you think of his last two albums?

Anonymous said...

Sorry to take so long to get back to you..
But, to give proper justice to commenting, I
went back and listened to Gift of Screws,
Out of the Cradle and,,, one more listen to Seeds.

Gift of Screws had some hits and misses, but was a pretty good LP.
Time Precious Time and Bel Air Rain, remind me alot of most of the songs on
Seeds We Sow. So much going on guitar-wise you kind of lose the
lyrics and they become more of an after-thought then a joint affair?

Out of the Cradle was alright, though it was uneventful?
Nothing on it that was really memorable? Like all LPs, there are always
some cuts you like better then others. On this to be honest, I don't remember
the last time I pulled it out to play it, nor did I recall any individual cut.
And usually on a Buckingham record, there is always something that just
stands out and you want to grab your guitar and try it. You fail miserably, but
you want to try it"_/

Now several songs on Say You Will have alot going on musically as well,
but they seem or at least feel to me to be more in balance and the words
play off the music like paint on canvas?? Say Good Bye is amazing.
The music. the voices and the lyric all almost bounce off each other, point
counter point, but then they also seem to come together in such
a magical way that each element complements the other like a beautiful
painting in a great frame. Bleed to Love Her; down-right simple and straight
forward by contrast but such a great song. And again, words playing with
and against the music beautifully. Miranda is just cool.

One thing you can always know about a Lindsey Buckingham record is that
he does not short change you musically. More times then not, a little less might have made for a better song??
Case in point.. The song Twisted? Listen to Stevie Nicks' original version
that appears on the Box-set and compare it to the overworked version that
appears on the Twister soundtrack.

Please excuse my rather lame attempt at trying to describe my impressions.
My love of the music, far outweighs my knowledge of it. And I do apologize
for probably overstating in my first post about Seeds You Sow, But I was and still am
just sooo disappointed.
D

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