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Bungliemutt (Hampshire, UK)

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Lost In The Dream
Lost In The Dream
Price: 7.98

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lost In The.....Dreams, 4 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Lost In The Dream (Audio CD)
Until Adam Granduciel's voice kicks in 46 seconds into 'Suffering', it would have come as no surprise had Stevie Nicks started singing 'Thunder only happens when it's raining...', such does the influence of Rumours and Tusk pervade this third album by The War On Drugs. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is no bad thing. The band's second album Slave Ambient was heaped with praise, and featured heavily in the top 10 lists of many pundits back in 2011. Three years on, and Granduciel has delivered a piece of work that laughs in the face of the graveyard third album that afflicts many bands with a modicum of talent and a dearth of ideas. Lost In The Dream is a an early contender for album of the year, but for hyperbole-phobes consider the evidence before dismissing the statement. By the second track 'Red Eyes', this is an album already in overdrive, awash with synths and driving guitars that push forward a melody so insistent that Granduciel whoops with the sheer joy of it all before thrashing into an irresistible guitar solo. With its cross between Fleetwood Mac's 'Dreams' and 'Sisters Of The Moon' intro, 'Suffering' slows down the pace beautifully, but fourth track 'An Ocean In Between The Waves' builds slowly, aided by a pulsing beat, into a swooning and swooping song with long guitar solos awash with reverb and ringing clear as a bell. From there onwards there is no looking back, with not a single duff track to be found. 'Eyes To The Wind' is simply lovely; 'The Haunting Idle' is a shimmering instrumental track with a ghostly clanging guitar sound that slips seamlessly into 'Burning', a song that creeps up slowly until it smashes into a lovely guitar intro. And so on.

Lost In The Dream is an album full of finely crafted songs, each one longish, with plenty of music in them - as others have noted, a proper rock album at a time when rock albums are no longer fashionable. It wears its heritage on its sleeve; Fleetwood Mac and Springsteen most notably, but it has its own very much up to the minute 21st century vibe too. Adam Granduciel has created a very fine piece of work that sounds fresh and original, while being simultaneously timeless. It's the best thing this reviewer has heard for some considerable time, an indication of a talent reaching its peak of creativity, and an album that will last. It will be interesting to see where Adam Granduciel's muse takes him and his band next.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 5, 2014 7:51 AM BST

Psychedelic Pill
Psychedelic Pill
Price: 8.61

13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elderly gent serves up a slice of ragged glory, 2 Nov 2012
This review is from: Psychedelic Pill (Audio CD)
Let's examine the facts, ladies and gentlemen. Close to fifty years into a career of wilfully divergent highs and lows, 66 year old Neil Young dishes up his second album of 2012 with long-time partners in crime Crazy Horse, the world's most famous band that cannot play. The first album (Americana) was either `interesting' or `rubbish' depending on your perspective. The second, on the other hand, is a different animal altogether. A quick recap may be useful here. Crazy Horse last participated in a Neil Young album back in 2003 with the `concept' album Greendale, albeit without the services of Frank `Poncho' Sampedro. Prior to that the band last fully convened on a studio project with the hugely underrated Broken Arrow in 1996, a whole 16 years ago. While Americana was a taster, and a typical Neil Young left turn (`God Save The Queen' grunge-style anyone?), Psychedelic Pill is the real thing. And while every album to a Neil Young fan is always the real thing, Psychedelic Pill really is the real thing.

Opener `Driftin' Back' is a long 27.37 minutes' worth of steadily building guitar exuberance that teeters frequently on the brink of over-indulgence, but is so darned good it never quite gets there. Its follow-up, the title track `Psychedelic Pill', is much shorter (3.28 minutes) and drenched in feedback and who knows what else, and as if in acknowledgement of this fact, Neil obligingly pastes a bonus track on the second disc (yes folks, this album is so long is takes up 2 CDs), which provides a much straighter (and arguably better) version of the same song. `Ramada Inn' is nearly 17 minutes of classic Neil Young, dark, brooding and melodic, it never comes close to outstaying its welcome. `Born In Ontario' is a bit of frippery with a pleasant if undemanding melody and lyrical appeal, and then it's on to disc 2. `Twisted Road' is an enjoyable piece of Dylan reminiscence followed by `She's Always Dancing', possibly the best track on the album and strangely enough the one that sounds least like the rest of it. `For The Love Of Man' is a pleasant ballad that switches the mood and tempo before the band launch into `Walk Like A Giant', another lengthy (16 minutes) guitar workout with a disposable stomping drum conclusion (giant's steps, geddit?).

So is it any good? Well yes, to this set of ears it's very good indeed. Probably the best Neil Young album since the last best Neil Young album - Broken Arrow? Sleeps With Angels? Possibly even Ragged Glory? It certainly has echoes of them all, and is almost an instant classic, destined to be replayed alongside the 70s masterworks. There are shortcomings of course; this is Neil Young after all, and nothing is ever quite as straightforward as it ought to be. Neil's lyrics have never been Dylanesque in stature (but then nor are Dylan's any more), and `Driftin' Back' in particular suffers from the kind of banality that requires a strong stomach. Neil may not want his MP3, or indeed his CD, and good luck to him with PureTone's attempt to bring some quality back to recorded sound, but `Driftin' Back' is not the song to stir up an army of like-minded souls. Other reviewers have pointed to over-indulgence and the possibility that there may only be one CD's worth of solid material here. Certainly, the second half of `Walk Like A Giant' had this reviewer reaching for the forward button, and the jury is still out on `Born In Ontario', but this is generally a splendid return to form - whatever that is, if you are Neil Young. Is it a 5-star album? Well it's certainly as close as we get these days, and the best thing Neil Young has put out for ages, so who am I to carp? Click on `Add to Basket' and buy it.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 4, 2012 4:33 PM GMT

Offered by Side Two
Price: 4.99

5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kathleen's change of direction is just an Empty Threat, 26 Jan 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Voyageur (Audio CD)
Let your humble reviewer declare a personal interest here; Kathleen Edwards's fourth album has been more anticipated than almost anything else since she released the exquisite Asking For Flowers, four long years ago in 2008. That album, and its two predecessors, Failer, and the sassy and rocking Back To Me without a single misplaced or duff note, pitched Kathleen Edwards somewhere in the hinterland of Americana between rock, country and folk. Her songs the perfect blend of everything good about the genre, her voice an instrument of intense pleasure, by turns mournful and sad, sarcastic and mocking, wistful and longing; the whole package adding up to an artist of immense talent and promise. That the delay in her follow-up was beginning to assume Gillian Welch-like proportions only made the expectation all the greater. To learn therefore that Bon Iver's Justin Vernon, he of cabin-in-woods pedigree and voice like a strangulated cat, was producing Edwards's new album was akin to learning that Macdonalds had stepped in to improve the menus at Michel Roux's Michelin-starred La Gavroche.

Media reviews have so far been mixed. Edwards has been accused of everything from dumbing down the Americana, to delivering a sanitised and blanded-up version of her previous work, layered with washes of Vernon-inspired synths at the expense of sparky guitar chops. For starters, Voyageur is undoubtedly a change of both pace and direction, deliberately so, as Edwards has stated her intention to throw off the restrictive shackles of a genre with which she has become identified. For those expecting Back To Me part 2, look elsewhere; you will not find it on this album. Voyageur has been touted as both Edwards's break-up album, and her new love interest album, for Justin Vernon occupies not only production duties, but is also Edwards's new beau.

While there are elements of accuracy in some of the criticisms, they tell only part of the story. Voyageur is a fine piece of work indeed, and one which has the capacity to reveal its subtleties and dexterity slowly with each repeated listen. Opening track `Empty Threat' is instantly recognisable as Edwards's material; an inviting chunk of folk-rock with a witty and knowing repetitious lyric. Its follow-up, `Chameleon / Comedian', whose title sounds like an REM off-cut, bears the hallmark of Justin Vernon's participation perhaps more overtly than anything else on the album, wisps of delicate synth gently washing over it. `Change The Sheets', `Mint' and `Sidecar' are rockers, but of a subtler vein than Edwards has previously delivered, lacking the muscle of earlier material, but no less involving as a result. Some of the best songs are those like `House Full Of Empty Rooms', `Pink Champagne' and the brooding closer `For The Record', in which Edwards's contemplative and autumnal wistfulness becomes positively tangible, underpinned by her lovely voice and subtle melody. For those on the lookout for Vernon's stamp, with cocked ear and furrowed brow, it is there, but it doesn't overwhelm the material as much as may have been expected (or feared). Voyageur is still very much a Kathleen Edwards album; indeed, an extremely good Kathleen Edwards album, the final appearance of which will lead to sighs of relief from many of the faithful. Where she decides to go next with her newly found freedom is anyone's guess.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 3, 2012 9:09 PM GMT

Great Expectations [DVD]
Great Expectations [DVD]
Dvd ~ Ray Winstone
Price: 5.07

30 of 42 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bleak Expectations, 30 Dec 2011
This review is from: Great Expectations [DVD] (DVD)
It was inevitable that the bicentennial of Dickens's birth would be marked by a plethora of filmed adaptations of his novels. Hot off the starting blocks comes the BBC's latest attempt at the masterful Great Expectations. A crowd-pleaser certainly, Sarah Phelps's adaptation is not in the same league as Andrew Davies's readings of Bleak House or Little Dorrit, but is beautifully photographed, wonderfully lit, and darkly atmospheric. The first episode starts strongly with the bleakness of the grey marshes filmed almost in monochrome, and a credible encounter between Young Pip and the convict Magwitch. Gillian Anderson as Miss Havisham is also a bit of a revelation, albeit one which will irritate purists who picture her to be much older (and possibly taller). The scene in which she is consumed by fire like so much dust and rags is quite startlingly well done.

However, there the accolades for this production come to an end. The abrupt switch from Oscar Kennedy's Young Pip to the pouting Douglas Booth leaves the viewer questioning if a scene has been omitted. Pip's Justin Bieber haircut and bee-stung lips also suggest a cynical deployment of boy-candy by BBC casting directors, no doubt designed to appeal to those whose bookshelves possibly do not already heave under the weight of Dickens's novels. Ray Winstone plays Magwitch as Ray Winstone, but his whispered dialogue comes straight from the Phil Mitchell school of ham-acting, and writer Sarah Phelps's EastEnders pedigree is reflected in some truly trite liberties with the script. (`I wanted to hurt you, I wanted to hurt everybody', trills Miss Havisham by way of heavily signposted explanation of the story hitherto. `I forgive you', responds pouting Pip). Arch-villain Bentley Drummle, complete with hare-lip, presumably to indicate his villainy, is played with pantomime devilishness by Tom Burke. While Dickens merely hints at the cruelty with which he uses Estella, her bruises are clearly on display as she whispers her thanks to Drummle's horse for conveniently dispatching him. This is a determinedly modern production that needs an EastEnders-style 'issue', and the implied wife-beating is portrayed as incongruously as Estella's and Pip's erotic wading scene, with its raised petticoats and daring flash of shins. Likewise, the brothel scene in which Drummle humiliates our pouting hero is frankly laughable, as badly scripted and far from Dickens as it is possible to get.

A version of The Mystery Of Edwin Drood is set to follow shortly. The BBC's intention to both finish and dramatise Dickens's unfinished work may set alarm bells ringing. Recent adaptations of Dickens on the BBC have not been entirely successful. A misguided desire to modernise and reinterpret Dickens for a new audience is at odds with an ever-increasing authenticity in the look of Dickensian Britain with which such productions are blessed through the use of CGI and other techniques. Dickens was a Victorian writer writing in Victorian times about nineteenth century issues. Attempts to re-script his already ample dialogue and introduce latterday pre-occupations underestimate the intelligence of the audience, and turn masterful fiction into trashy soap opera. While purists will avow that Dickens's writing was the soap opera of its day, it appealed to readers on many levels, something which modern interpretations like Sarah Phelps's earlier execrable version of Oliver Twist often fail to do. Some, like Andrew Davies, manage to get the balance spot on, and it is a shame that the BBC saw fit to cancel his production of Dombey And Son, as it would have done the bicentennial much prouder than this patchy version of Great Expectations.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 3, 2012 3:22 PM GMT

Sing In My Meadow: The Nomad Sessions - Vol.3
Sing In My Meadow: The Nomad Sessions - Vol.3
Price: 12.21

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cowboy Junkies - spitting fire from the speakers, 5 Nov 2011
The Cowboy Junkies' Nomad series of albums is proving to be something of a gem. Three albums in, and Sing In My Meadow, the second release this year, features a set of electric bluesy material involving the kind of guitar jams that are an established part of the Junkies live performances. While a release of this nature may suggest an element of self-indulgence, the resulting album contains an all too brief eight songs which never stray too far beyond their own template. Key to them all is the scratchy grunge sound that the Junkies have deployed intermittently over the years, but here it is given free rein. The result is a duelling guitar sound that often recalls Neil Young and Crazy Horse. Seemingly at odds with the purity of Margo Timmins voice, the confection somehow works. Timmins' voice is in fine fettle, rising piercingly through the sound melee, but never quite being defeated by it.

Opening song 'Continental Drift' sets the tone with a loping drum beat set against distorted foghorn-like harmonica and scratchy guitar from which Margo Timmins' voice emerges with dispassionate coolness. 'It's Heavy Down Here' follows with a slow-build intro that leads into an ominous sounding aural assault of wailing guitars and vocals. Best of all is the title track 'Sing In My Meadow' which positively zings and spits its way out of the speakers with a ringing clarity to its production and gorgeous underpinning melodic groove. At just over 40 minutes, the new album is unexpectedly economical, but chock full of ideas and decent tunes.

The Nomad series of 4 albums reflects the Cowboy Junkies' desire to mark their 25th anniversary with something that demonstrates that they have the 'energy and inspiration to pull it off'. Hot on the heels of their Vic Chesnutt tribute, Sing In My Meadow is one of the most vibrant and exciting albums they have released in years. The fourth and final Nomad album, The Wilderness, featuring a set of completely new songs, is due soon. On the strength of its predecessors it promises to be unmissable.

Travels In The Dustland
Travels In The Dustland
Price: 13.99

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Walkabouts - an overdue and welcome return, 26 Oct 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Travels In The Dustland (Audio CD)
It is a source of constant mystery why The Walkabouts remain such a closely guarded secret in the UK, despite modest success in America and massive acclaim in Eastern Europe. Despite a 6-year layoff, band members have been busy in the interim. Leading lights Chris Eckman and Carla Torgerson collaborated for a third time as Chris and Carla on Fly High Brave Dreamers in 2007, while Eckman delivered 2 albums as one third of his Dirtmusic project, as well as producing and collaborating with Tamikrest on two excellent albums of desert blues. In addition, he found time for a solo set of songs putting music to words (in translation) written by Slovenian poet Dane Zajc (The Last Side Of The Mountain, 2008). Perhaps not the most obvious commercial move, the resulting album had a strange and ethereal beauty.

A reconvening of The Walkabouts is therefore an overdue and welcome pleasure, and Travels In The Dustland, the band's 15th studio release, and first since 2005's Acetylene, sees them ploughing a familiar furrow of gorgeous gothic Americana. As ever, songwriting honours fall to Chris Eckman, but vocals are shared equally between Eckman's rough, scratchy drawl, and Torgerson's crystal clear tones. The songs, all of which are strong, and never less than interesting, form a loose concept in four parts about a place called the 'Dustlands', which clearly represents a haunted and desolate America. Standouts include the lovely opening 'My Diviner', with Carla Torgerson in fine voice, 'The Dustlands' and 'Every River Will Burn'. In the main the songs are more subdued and reflective than on some of the band's more experimental latterday material, but the album suffers a little through slightly muddy production.

The Walkabouts have been around since the late 80s, and for the faithful have yet to release an album of sub-standard material. Their eastern European influences are evident in the cold glassiness of their sound, but it is tempered by the warmth of their country roots, often hidden, but easily discernible beneath the surface of their music. For those new to the band, Travels In The Dustland is as good a place to start as any. For those wishing to make the comparison with earlier work, 1996's Devil's Road comes recommended, if only for containing 'The Light Will Stay On', a gorgeous track having the dubious distinction of being the band's only song to receive anything like regular UK airplay. Frustratingly and unaccountably unknown, The Walkabouts will doubtless remain as such for the remainder of their career. It's a pity, for they are a fine band, with a substantial back catalogue of quality material waiting to be discovered.

Ashes & Fire
Ashes & Fire
Offered by Edealcity
Price: 7.64

12 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mercurial genius reconnects with Gram Parsons muse, 10 Oct 2011
This review is from: Ashes & Fire (Audio CD)
Ryan Adams' solo career has mapped out two paths. That trodden by his prolific and wayward leanings has manifested itself in such genre-hopping experiments as the pedestrian Rock'n'Roll album, the heavy metal Orion project, and the disposable III/IV offcuts album from Easy Tiger, much of which would have been better left on the cutting room floor. 'Proper' releases have generally returned to more familiar territory, and Ashes & Fire goes one step further, largely retracing the wistful and gentle Americana of Heartbreaker and Love Is Hell, albeit without that first solo album's overt country leanings.

In the main, this is an album that has been stripped back to basics, often with minimal instrumentation, acoustic guitars set against Adams' deeply melancholic voice. On the lovely 'Do I Wait', the song slowly builds from acoustic beginnings to an electric crescendo in typical Adams fashion. The model is repeated on the brief but affecting 'Chains Of Love', this time by mournful violin which rises out of the gentle acoustic beginnings and swells out to underpin the song. `Save Me', with its beautiful melody enhanced with splashes of pedal steel, strings, and organ played by Heartbreaker Benmont Tench, is up there with the best of Ryan Adams' songs. No one evokes pain and heartbreak quite as effectively as Adams does. `Save Me' is desperately sad, and there is more sadness on `Kindness'; `Kindness can cure a broken heart / Honey, are you feeling kind?' These are songs that rely on lyrical content and songwriting craft as much as instrumentation, and as such contain some of the best material Adams has produced in years. Encapsulated by the penultimate `Lucky Now', with its echoes of `La Cienega Just Smiled', none of these songs outstay their welcome; brevity is the key, each leaving the listener with the desire for more; melodies are immediate and bear the test of repetition.

Ryan Adams' volatile temperament and mercurial reputation often serves to disguise the fact that when he is at his best, his songwriting is peerless. In 11 years of solo activity since the demise of Whiskeytown his output has been prodigious, involving a string of classy albums rooted in the Americana mould. It is a genre Adams constantly returns to despite genre-hopping experiments and intermittent proclamations of retirement. On Ashes & Fire he sounds refreshed without his erstwhile Cardinals. While the album breaks no major new ground, its reconnection with what he does best sounds reassuringly familiar and yet different enough to warrant the assertion that this may turn out to be one of the best sets of material he has so far delivered. Simply lovely.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 12, 2011 8:21 PM BST

Mockingbird Time
Mockingbird Time
Offered by mrtopseller
Price: 5.00

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tentative return for alt-country pioneers, 19 Sep 2011
This review is from: Mockingbird Time (Audio CD)
A full Jayhawks reunion project has been on the cards for so many years that its inevitability has almost outstripped expectations of the final product. True alt-country pioneers as the band were, almost overlooked before it became too late to appreciate them, it is hard to believe that sixteen years have elapsed since Mark Olson and Gary Louris last jointly put their names to a Jayhawks album (1995's excellent Tomorrow The Green Grass). Not that band members have been quiet in the interim, Louris continuing to release albums under the Jayhawks moniker until 2003's Rainy Day Music; Olson under various Creekdipper incarnations, and solo; and drummer Tim O'Reagan releasing an excellent self-titled set in 2006.

Olson's and Louris's Ready For The Flood album from 2008 paved the way for a full reassembling of The Jayhawks, and in many ways Mockingbird Time picks up where both Tomorrow The Green Grass and Rainy Day Music left off. That the band are back together is to be much welcomed, the whole being unquestionably superior to the sum of its parts. It is perhaps to be expected however that Mockingbird Time breaks little new ground, its two key protagonists appearing to rely tentatively on mutually acceptable middle ground rather than tearing up the rule book with each other at such an early stage. That is not to say that there are not pleasures aplenty within. 'Tiny Arrows', 'Cinnamon Love' and 'Pouring Rain At Dawn' are all high points, featuring the familiar harmonies that denote the band's characteristic sound. There is a subdued feel to many of the songs, illustrated by the lovely and melancholic 'Touch The Stars' and the wailing fiddle on 'Black Eyed Susan', but there is also a lacklustre edge to some of the material which indicates a band still feeling its way after a considerable lay-off. Mockingbird Time is far from The Jayhawks' best work; it serves as a useful reminder of where they have come from rather than as a statement of intent about where they might be going. As a setting out of The Jayhawks distinctive stall this album will hopefully fulfil the band's desire to reacquaint with its fanbase while reaching a new audience, but it leaves the palpable expectation of better things to come.

3 and a half stars
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 22, 2011 11:06 PM BST

Price: 17.80

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tinariwen - as close to perfection as it gets, 8 Sep 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Tassili (Audio CD)
Given the unexpected rise of Tuareg desert blues into the Western rock sensibility, and the number of imitators whose own versions of the sound are knocking on the door of the mainstream (Tartit, Tamikrest, Terakaft, to name but three), Tinariwen's most predictable next move would have been to cash in on that unprecedented popularity by delivering a third helping of their two breakthrough albums. That they have not done so serves as a reassurance that there is more to Tinariwen than crossover success might have tempted them into.

Tassili flirts with the almost obligatory Western guest musicians in a Bringing-It-All-Back-Home style of taking the blues back to their putative origins. Wilco's Nels Cline lends unobtrusive guitar parts to 'Imidiwan Ma Tenam', but there are less than successful English vocals on 'Tenere Taqhim Tossam' from TV On The Radio's Tunde Adebimpe, which sound intrusive and alien. The addition of horns from The Dirty Dozen Brass Band on 'Ya Messinagh' is also of dubious benefit, but these reservations only serve to illustrate how well Tinariwen's sound stands up on its own merits without any Westernised interference.

In the main, this album returns Tinariwen to its desert roots; campfire songs about love and life, without the now familiar hypnotic sawing electric guitar grooves. While this may appear to be a sharp left turn, it is in fact the most obvious next step for the band, and the quality of the unplugged songs shows just what a class act they are. The grooves are still there, just as infectious, but subtler and gentler. Unlike others, Tinariwen have opted to remain close to their roots, and although the rise of Al Qaeda in their home villages has prompted a move into Algeria for the recording of Tassili, the conflict at the heart of that move is not reflected in the softer sounds of the music within. So many 'World Music' acts become seduced by the power of Western approbation that the reasons for their original appeal becomes smothered by the influence of American and European producers with a desire to demonstrate their ethnic credibility through a heavy-handed crossover agenda. Tinariwen have resisted that temptation so far; one suspects that they will continue to do so. Let's hope they do, for much of Tassili is as close as it gets to some of the best music around, in anyone's world.

Seeds We Sow
Seeds We Sow
Offered by Books-and-Sounds
Price: 5.48

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Homemade effort on Buckingham's sixth solo outing, 6 Sep 2011
This review is from: Seeds We Sow (Audio CD)
Always a writer willing to push the boundaries of his art, and experiment with sound at the expense of commercial success, Lindsey Buckingham has never been as prolific as his restless spirit might suggest he should have been. Not, that is, until the slew of fine albums he has delivered in the last 5 years, beginning with the very personal and minimalist Under The Skin in 2006; followed two years later by the downright weirdness coupled with pristine pop of Gift Of Screws, and now culminating in this third album. Seeds We Sow sits somewhere between the two in its tone. The opening tracks, 'Seeds We Sow' and 'In Our Own Time' would have fitted comfortably on Under The Skin, featuring as they do Buckingham's familiar tense and tightly picked Spanish guitar sound. When things pep up for 'Illumination' ('one less trick of the mind, the process of illumination'), and then slip into the sweet pop sound of 'That's The Way That Love Goes', the album suddenly breathes into life, deploying all the customary Buckingham tricks of harmony and rich pop sensibility that kept Fleetwood Mac at the top of its game for a short period in the mid-seventies.

There are few out and out rock songs here, and at times Buckingham's overly clinical guitar picking can become tiresome. The album was performed , recorded and produced in its entirely by Lindsey Buckingham himself, and occasionally this self-referential approach cries out for Stevie Nicks's sandpaper harmonies, and the bump and grind of the Mac rhythm section. Following the sublime 'Rock Away Blind', 'One Take' partially answers this need through an insistent and infectious groove coupled with fast and literate vocals, but much of the album has a sweetness of mood and orchestral tone that is reminiscent of moments on Out Of The Cradle.

For many, Lindsey Buckingham's ample talent and promise has never been better fulfilled than when linked to the softening influences of his four (latterly three) Fleetwood Mac bandmates. That Buckingham sees it like that is questionable, but his solo projects have always provided an outlet for his more left field leanings. While he continues to deliver material of the quality of Seeds We Sow, the prospect of a final Mac album remains a distinct, if frustratingly elusive possibility. In the meantime, this latest offering is more than adequate compensation.

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