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Springfield Sunday Republican (04/13/2003), Fleetwood Mac "Say You Will" < Fleetwood Mac < Main Page

Springfield Sunday Republican (04/13/2003), Fleetwood Mac "Say You Will"

Springfield Sunday Republican, April 13, 2003

Fleetwood Mac, "Say You Will," (Reprise). [3 1/2 stars]
by Kevin O’Hare

At this point in their storied career, it would have been easy for Fleetwood Mac to just go into the studio and sleepwalk their way through another album, replicating the past before hitting the road for some easy money.

But give Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks and founding members Mick Fleetwood and John McVie a lot of credit. For "Say You Will," their first new full studio set with Buckingham on board since 1987, is adventurous, challenging, wonderfully creative and at times totally off-the-wall.

It's true that the group is missing the tenderness and stability of longtime keyboardist-singer Christine McVie, who opted out of this project after touring with the band in support of their 1997 live album "The Dance." But her absence also provided a whole lot more room for ex-lovers Buckingham and Nicks, and both make the most of the opportunity especially Buckingham, one of the best and most underrated guitarists of his generation.

This did, after all, originally start out as a Buckingham solo project, and expanded from there. Those who've been enthralled with some of the stringman's previous solo albums, like his criminally forgotten 1992 masterpiece "Out of the Cradle," will find a lot to like about "Say You Will."

The guitarist's playing is nothing short of brilliant here, whether he's rippling through the finger-picking acoustic wonder of "Red Rover" the passionate "Bleed to Love Her," and the touching ode to Nicks on "Say Goodbye," or whether he's turning on the explosive electric power for "Murrow Turning Over in His Grace." The latter is one of the disc's more avant-garde tracks, a big, dense clash of guitars, staggered rhythms, sound effects and Buckingham's desperate vocals. But it's not the only time where The Mac step out on a limb.

Sometimes it works - as on that song - and sometimes it doesn't, like during the rather excessive lumber and thunder of "Come." But at least they're still taking chances, unlike the vast majority of "classic rock" acts that long ago lost their sense of adventure.

Longtime Fleetwood Mac fans need not fret though, for there are plenty of moments here that are very true to the best of their earlier work. "Thrown Down," is a particular standout, loaded with Buckingham and Nicks' harmonies, while others like Nicks' title track and the beautiful Buckingham ballad "Steal Your Heart Away" fare nearly equally well.

The album is too bulky though. They originally considered making it a double disc, but settled for an 18-track, 76-minute-plus single CD, that still could have used some editing. Nevertheless, it's a major return to form, an unexpected bonus from a band that could have been comfortably resting on its laurels. Instead, they went to work, and came up with one of the best albums of their long career.

Thanks to John Run for posting this to the Ledge.

Date: 2003-04-13         Number of views: 1074

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