As a fan of Fleetwood Mac, I have made a habit of following the solo careers of at least two of it’s members. So when Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie arrived, I was intrigued. This pairing was essentially the answer to a musical question I had never even bothered to ask.
Lindsey Buckingham of all of the Mac’s members was the most progressive. Christine McVie on the other hand was more pop (remember 1983’s “Love’s Got a Hold on Me”?). She always seemed to be the force that brought the conflicting forces of Stevie N. and Lindsey B. together. In their self titled first off solo project, McVie ends up doing what she does with her native band, mitigating the wild tendencies of Lindsey Buckingham and contrasting them with her own pop tendency. With Mitchell Froom refereeing the production, the end result is a solid collection of songs.
I’ve always thought the two actually sound alike on some Fleetwood Mac albums. Their harmonies tended to sound like variations of each other’s voice. So in that respect it seemed inevitable that the two would hook up.
You could think of this album as a bookend to 1973’s Buckingham Nicks, that pre Fleetwood Mac album that featured the magical synergy between a young Stevie and Lindsey. At it’s best Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie recalls great Fleetwood Mac albums of the past, but only on a few occasions. At it’s worst it just sounds like a Christine McVie solo record (which in itself is not bad). The albums lead single “In My World” for instance could have been a outtake from 1987’s Tango In the Night.
Anyone looking for the spooky funk of Lindsey Buckingham might be a bit disappointed. Tracks like “Too Far Gone” and “Lay Down For Free” comes close to the back beat zaniness we associate with Lindsey, but this album sounds like his handy work filtered through McVie. The result are not bad at all, just not special like the occasional Fleetwood Mac classic or even the best of the respective artists.
Nonetheless there are interesting musical textures that suggest foreboding and mystery as in “Carnival Begin” recalls the better synergies of Fleetwood Mac. “Red Sun” combines Buckingham’s distinctive Fleetwood Macish rhythm section and combines it to McVie’s knack for catchy pop melody.
With Stevie Nicks being the one holdout, Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie was just one member short of being a Fleetwood Mac album. John McVie and Mick Fleetwood both contributed to parts of the album. It just as well not have been a Fleetwood Mac album – if it were I might be disappointing. As it is, I’ll consider it one of the year’s pleasant surprises.