Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Review: Lindsey Buckingham "sparkling melody and superlative guitar work"

Seeds We Sow

Lindsey Buckingham has for so long been a part of the one of the biggest mainstream pop bands in the world - Fleetwood Mac, of course -  that we tend to forget what an oddball he can be. When the singer/guitarist makes solo records - formerly infrequently, but Seeds We Sow is his third in five years - he takes his cues from the experimental Tusk more than the mainstream blockbuster Rumours. Seeds runs on Buckingham's usual staples - sparkling melody and superlative guitar work, particularly hyperactive acoustics in this case - but it's the production that makes the record more than a soft rock side project. Looking back to the quirky arrangements of Out of the Cradle and the synthesized sheen of Go Insane, Buckingham takes often simple tunes and processes them into a strange mix of weirdness and clarity.

"One Take," while sporting an immediately catchy chorus and a burning guitar solo, is powered by deliberately old-fashioned electronic drums and clipped singing, sounding beamed in from another dimension. "Rock Away Blind," outside of its enigmatic libretto, floats on a sea of air while still digging its roots into the ground. "Stars Are Crazy" revolves around the tension between Buckingham's fleet-fingered acoustic guitar and his urgent singing, which sound out of sync in a beguiling way. "Gone Too Far" and the title track even alter the auteur's voice to sound younger, thinner and more feminine.

Buckingham does play it straight from time to time - "She Smiles Sweetly" lives up to its title with just voice, guitar and a no-frills tune, while "End of the Line" and "That's the Way Love Goes" just need the voices of Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie to be Mac tracks. The rocking "Illumination" boasts not only an obviously anthemic chorus but a production job straight out of Tango in the Night.

Buckingham's hero has always been Brian Wilson, another eccentric whose forte is combining heavenly melody with imaginative production. Without sounding anything like Pet Sounds, Seeds We Sow indicates Buckingham has absorbed Wilson's lessons well.

DOWNLOAD: "Stars Are Crazy," "Illumination," "Gone Too Far"

Blurt Magazine

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