Wednesday, May 01, 2013

REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac "Extended Play" - "a joyous 18 minutes, strongly melodic, filled with dreamy hooks

New music review: 
Extended Play, Fleetwood Mac
By Bernard Perusse

The Montreal Gazette

It wasn't quite the blindside of David Bowie's sudden emergence in January with new music. Lindsey Buckingham had started the jungle telegraph with an announcement at Fleetwood Mac's April 6 concert in Philadelphia that the group would release an EP of new material "in a few days." 

But the actual appearance of the music yesterday on iTunes still came as a surprise in an era when release dates are etched in stone and the hype machine gets going ages before the music surfaces. 

Four tracks from the Mac - one of them a rediscovered oldie - is not the feat Bowie accomplished with 17 unheard songs. But it shares the same decade-long gestation period: this is the group's first fresh recording since the 2003 album Say You Will. 

And it's a joyous 18 minutes. 

Fans will read all sorts of meanings into the lyrics, which are hard not to connect with Buckingham's often-troubled relationship with Stevie Nicks. It is, after all, the backdrop for rock n' roll's longest-running soap opera. 

"It's still evolving, and that's the beauty of it too. I've known Stevie since high school. We were a couple for many, many years, and we've been a musical couple forever," Buckingham said to Rolling Stone. "After all this time you would think there was nothing left to discover, nothing left to work out, no new chapters to be written. But that is not the case - there are new chapters to be written." 

"I had a really good time working with him for four days at his house. I got to hang out with his family and his kids, his grown up kids, and really connect with him again. We're pretty proud of what we have done, and we're looking at it through the eyes of wisdom now, instead of through the eyes of jealousy and resentment and anger," Nicks told the same publication. 

""Hello, hello sad angel, have you come to fight the war?" Buckingham and Nicks sing in harmony during the killer chorus of opening track Sad Angel, an uptempo, catchy pop-rocker written by Buckingham. In many ways, in fact, the entire EP sounds like a Buckingham solo release: strongly melodic, filled with dreamy hooks and neurotically self-aware. 

Without You, which, tellingly, comes from the pre-Mac Buckingham-Nicks era, is the sole track penned by Nicks. It finds the two in a grizzled update of the Everly Brothers sound: over a gorgeous, crisp acoustic jangle, Nicks's rough nasality blends with Buckingham's high tenor in a celebration of where the two have brought each other. The perspective might be 40 years old, but it seems oddly poignant now. 

It Takes Time, a stark, but sweet piano ballad, finds Buckingham's protagonist struggling to connect with his own feelings, while Miss Fantasy is quite the stunner: a sunshiny, bittersweet look back, with a chorus that evokes the Beach Boys. As Nicks comes in on harmony, the track soars higher than we could have hoped for. 

No word yet on when, or even whether, a physical release will follow. 


Anonymous said...

All you naysayers....critics are diggin it. Why are the"fans" such bitches?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I thought I was alone in my own personal review of this EP. But this pretty much echoes my sentiments.
It's almost exactly how I had hoped new Fleetwood Mac music would sound.
While I was excited when Say You Will first came out, looking back - a lot of what I didn't like was the overly long bombastic Van Halen-like guitar solos.
I don't know anyone who's a bigger Buckingham fan than me, but it was all a little too self indulgent.
These new tracks feel much more like a band effort. Lindsey's studio wizardry - but in the realm of Fleetwood Mac.

I don't think I've been this excited about brand new Fleetwood Mac studio music since I first heard Big Love on the radio in 1987.

Anonymous said...

An awesome review! I love the EP!!!

Mark St.Clair Tavenier, FL said...

I love this!! The whole EP is one giant piece of ear candy. Brilliantly executed from start to finish. It is obvious they still have the magic formula and it makes me want much more!!

Thanks guys!! By the way this is by far one of your best Fleetwood Mac tours since the Dance. You have a secret youth elixor.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree, I amazes me that anyone would criticize a gang of +65 year old superstars who still have the energy, drive and courage to stand before 15,000 to 25,000 people 3 and 4 nights a week and perform as well as they do. Please they are no longer 35, of course their voices and stamina have aged. But who do you know that could perform before these roaring crowds at their age for 2.5 hours without having a complete panic attack. Not Fleetwod Mac. They are sonic superstars and aging like the finest of bottle in the cellar.

Rock on Gold Dust Woman!

Anonymous said...

Yes - this is my favorite thread. There's an aura of success about this release that's been missing for too long. It's a hit. Every song is tremendous in its own way. I am so moved by the music. It's absolutely wonderful!

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