If an artist, even the calibre of McCartney, presented something like this to a major record label in 2011 it would at the very least send executives to the brink of despair but most likely end up gathering dust until the obligatory career spanning box set happened along decades later. That says something about how different the music industry was 30 years ago when the decade of outrageous self-indulgence had drawn to a close and a new flamboyance was rising. Paul Mccartney decided to kick off the 80s by retreating to his country pad with the minimum of technology and bang out a few ditties without too much fuss and bother. Of course, he had done this before with his first solo album so it was not a new idea. Coming off the back of a couple of dodgy Wings albums he probably felt the need to make a clean sweep and, to coin a well known cliche, get back to basics. No question that this album is very basic. You would be forgiven for thinking this is a collection of demos such is the rawness of the sound. Even the opening track and single, Coming Up, has that unfinished, slightly chaotic sort of sound with what actually sounds like a guide vocal and not a finished voice. As you would expect, it does get quite self-indulgent at times but the songs are kept short and it never gets out of hand. Clocking in at under 40 minutes the album doesn't overstay its welcome. McCartney's gift for a ballad rewards us with a gem in Waterfalls. A quite beautiful track with sparse but effective backing. One of his most underrated songs I think. Although terribly dated now this is an album that still possesses a kind of charm and simplicity that McCartney would never recapture. You will find your attention wandering but it's worth another look if you feel like something uncomplicated and organic. There was no indication in this album that McCartney was about to issue two of the finest albums of his post Beatles career in Tug Of War and Pipes Of Peace. Perhaps McCartney II was a way of preparing himself for a return to his unquestionable gifts of melody and creativity. Interesting but by no means essential.