Lindsey Buckingham: Under the Skin
The Guardian (UK)
Friday September 29, 2006
Lindsey Buckingham, Fleetwood Mac’s dominant songwriter for 32 years, is a pop genius: his sunny harmonies pull you one way while an undercurrent of anguish tugs you the other. His extra-curricular work has always been intriguing, and this fourth solo album is a small masterpiece of tightly balanced musical contrasts. Buckingham’s filigreed melodies echo such heroes of his youth as the Byrds and Donovan; in a voice more echo-drenched and multi-tracked than any since John Lennon’s, he tremulously exhales such lines as “My children look away, they don’t know what to say,” only to burst into the yearning rapture of “It’s not too late.” As spacious as Buckingham’s native California yet as fraught with unease, this is another gripping postcard from the edge of paradise.
Under the Skin
The Times (UK)
September 29, 2006
The Fleetwood Mac guitarist’s stripped-down acoustic album is luxuriant rather than austere. Sparse arrangements boast lush harmonies, while the imaginative production drapes Buckingham’s whine in eerie reverb. It works, though. High spots include the frenetic fingerpicking of Not too Late, the sunny Show You How and the howling Flying Down Juniper, evocative of Fred Neil and Tim Buckley.
Under the Skin (Reprise) £12.99
Sunday October 1, 2006
If Fleetwood Mac are a guilty pleasure, enjoying a solo album by their former guitarist should be a heinous crime. But there’s little MOR bombast on Lindsey Buckingham’s fourth solo record; these are dusty redemption songs which draw on the sparest of elements. ‘Show You How’ summons and sustains a groove with little more than a guitar and cleverly layered vocals. And ‘Under the Skin’ builds on a simple, strummed motif with Buckingham’s voice shimmering beautifully like a heat-haze. When he does at last display his knack for the heroic chorus, he unleashes another aspect of a singular musical talent.
October 6, 2006
Section: THE REVIEWS: MUSIC ‘Skin’ Tight
A gloriously unhinged return from Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham .
Lindsey Buckingham Under the Skin (Reprise) Rock
In the opening minutes of Under the Skin, Lindsey Buckingham sings of “visions always deferred,” alluding to 14 years passing since his last solo album. He’s griped that every time he gets one under way, Fleetwood Mac bandmates rope him into another reunion, cannibalizing his song stockpile. So if these songs lean toward his eccentric side, maybe that was intended as an early defensive measure against any further Mac attacks.
Skin is high-concept in that it’s theoretically stripped-down, consisting almost entirely of Buckingham’s voice and acoustic guitar. But he’s too much the Brian Wilson-worshipping studio maestro not to multitrack that voice into nearly choral rounds of oddly punctuated pop harmonies, and he’ll certainly use the marvels of engineering to make those nylon strings sound deliriously big. It might be acoustic, but the last thing you’d call it is unplugged.
Unhinged? Sure. Some lyrics recall his most neurotic LP, 1984’s aptly titled Go Insane; other times, he’s a newly placid family man, or trying (“a madman… looking for paradise”). But on this album, quieter means less gentle: His fingerpicking is impossibly frantic in its nervous virtuosity, and each near-whisper is miked to sound like a scream. It’s the spartan-yet-gonzo sound of a guy remembering he can go his own way. B+
Saturday 7th Oct 2006 live at The Ryman Auditorium
Our Critics Picks:
Lindsey Buckingham is at once a driving force behind one of the most successful commercial enterprises in rock music and an idiosyncratic cult artist. As a singer, songwriter and producer in Fleetwood Mac for most of the last 32 years, he wrote classics like “Go Your Own Way” and “Second Hand News,” while helping to shape the songs of bandmates Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie into irresistible ear candy. But the eccentricity of his work on Mac albums like Tusk and Say You Will only hints at the singularity of vision heard on his first solo album in 14 years. On Under the Skin, Buckingham buttresses his reputation as a pop visionary by orchestrating very basic elements—mainly voice, acoustic guitar and percussion—to create a textured sonic picture unlike any he could have painted at his day job. Casual fans—i.e., you own Rumours but not Tusk—might want to wait this one out: Buckingham is planning a more rock-oriented album and tour next year, followed by a Fleetwood Mac road trip in 2008.