Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Lindsey Buckingham -- Gift Of Screws (2008)

Lindsey Buckingham -- Gift Of Screws (Reprise)
The suddenly semi-prolific Lindsey Buckingham turns from the lovely intimacy of Under The Skin to an album that constitutes a survey of everything that Buckingham does well, with a few songs sounding like outtakes from the classic Fleetwood Mac albums of the ‘70s. This album isn’t as emotionally intense as its predecessor. This is made up for with some of the giddiest pop Buckingham has produced since Go Insane, his second solo album.

The album kicks off with "Great Day", which hearkens back to his early solo work. Electronic drums and plucked guitar strings (played with the dexterity of a flamenco guitarist) create an ominous atmosphere. This song is about rhythm and tempo and includes some stellar lead guitar work.

On "Time Precious Time", Buckingham’s plays circular patterns on his acoustic guitar, creating a dreamy atmosphere. This song is predicated on dynamics, with Buckingham singing barely above a whisper in the verses, with the chorus blooming like a flower, as the intensity of the guitar playing picks up with the verses. The lyrics are spare, as Buckingham sings of not rushing when making a crucial decision. The urgency of the music is at cross purposes with the words. The meaning of it all -- don’t take too much time.

After these two excursions into rocky terrain, Buckingham comes back with a grade A pop tune. "Did You Miss Me" comes from the place that gave us Buckingham classics like "Trouble" and "Think About Me". It’s a textbook pop song that takes the concept of ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ to logical extremes. Well, maybe not entirely logical, but certainly extreme. Anyway, it’s a winner, aided by the involvement of Buckingham’s old rhythm section of John McVie and Mick Fleetwood.

The pair also show up on the effervescent title cut. This song is another juxtaposition between lyrics and music. While Buckingham is singing about how "authority makes us bleed bleed bleed/essential oils are wrung/the attar from the rose," the music is bouncy and Buckingham adds some wacky backing vocals and playful lead guitar playing.

The blues show up on "Wait For You", yet another song that could have come out any time between 1977 and today. Playing a repeating blues figure and then overlaying a taut melody, Buckingham builds the tension like a master craftsman. The song then unfolds into guitar filled chorus, Buckingham’s voice becoming tremulous and full of longing. This is very smart pop-rock.

I could pretty much praise every song on this LP to the gills, but I’ll end this mash note with the last track, "Treason". It’s a melancholy tale of attempted redemption. A guy told a lie and now he wants forgiveness. He is full of despair. But the song is optimistic -- he believes "we will rise from this treason."

This song has a simple melody and is less produced than most of the other tracks on the album. Here, Buckingham lets his vocals take the center stage and conveys a great deal of hurt and hope. He effectively uses true background vocals (i.e., they are way in the background) on the indelible chorus. Yet another instant classic.

Musically, this is superior pop music. The lyrics are not always up to that standard, but they are, at a minimum, effective. This very well might be Buckingham’s best solo record to date.

1 comment:

musicobsession said...

Nice album my niece showed it to me.