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Kansas City Star Under the Skin Review 3.5 Stars < Lindsey Buckingham < Main Page

Kansas City Star Under the Skin Review 3.5 Stars

Since his trials and experiments on Fleetwood Mac¡¯s ¡°Tusk,¡± including the deployment of a college marching band, Buckingham has made it clear that production and the manipulation of sound are as important to him as songcraft. His three previous solo albums (especially ¡°Go Insane¡±) were diverse expressions of his many fetishes, fashions and skills: his love for Brian Wilson and Beach Boy pop; his guitar wizardry; his elastic sense of rhythm, percussion and groove; his ambitious and evocative production styles.

The very acoustic ¡°Skin¡± is the quietest of Buckingham¡¯s solo albums, ¡°quiet¡± being another way of saying ¡°understated and introspective.¡± It opens with ¡°Not Too Late,¡± a ballad propelled principally by his brilliant handy work on guitar and by his lyrics, which establish the theme of this record: He¡¯s a man of many doubts and insecurities trying to find some emotional traction as he enters the twilight of his life (he just turned 57).

Musically, it¡¯s not an auspicious start, unless you¡¯re a student of eloquent and grandiose guitar play. His vocals sound especially thin. By song No. 3, ¡°Under the Skin¡± has gained its true footing. Much of the rest of the album is built on shimmering acoustic guitars, echoes and effects on lead and background vocals and the orchestral arrangements of David Campbell, Beck¡¯s father.

Buckingham covers two songs here: the Stones¡¯ ¡°Shut Us Down¡± and Donovan¡¯s ¡°To Try for the Sun,¡± and they are two of the stronger cuts here ¨C which underline Buckingham¡¯s strengths and weaknesses as a solo artist. He can take someone else¡¯s good song and make it better or more interesting, anyway.

On the lovely ¡°Down on Rodeo¡± and ¡°One Way Dreams,¡± he delivers all the goods on his own: bright and lush acoustic guitars; ethereal background vocals; a pretty melody that lingers. Those are the standouts. The rest cast impressions that are engaging but vague and fleeting, despite what he has titled this album.

Date: 2006-10-13         Number of views: 1255

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