The Big CD: Lindsey Buckingham – Gift of Screws

The Times
September 13, 2008
John Mulvey

It is rarely edifying to hear a multimillion-selling rock star whinge about lack of credibility. But on his previous solo album, Under the Skin, Buckingham just about got away with it. Buckingham, remember, was the man who had propelled Fleetwood Mac to their commercial zenith in the mid-1970s. And consequently, he was also one of the prime musical enemies of anyone who had invigorated their record collections with punk rock.

In the past few years, however, Buckingham and Fleetwood Mac have undergone something of a critical rehabilitation. Buckingham’s obsessive perfectionism in the studio, his occasionally deranged sonic experiments, and the excruciating emotional honesty that he shares with all his old bandmates are seen as fine things. On Under the Skin, a little bit of praise seemed to have pushed Buckingham into a doggedly solipsistic display of his leftfield chops. The album began with him noting: “Reading the paper, saw a review/ Said I was a visionary, but nobody knew,” and mainly consisted of him constructing nervy guitar loops in what may well have been his bedroom. A lovely album, but one of strategically limited appeal.

Gift of Screws is a more varied affair. There are fantastic solo workouts, such as Time Precious Time, on which Buckingham yelps harmoniously over some frantically intricate acoustic guitar. But then there are also pop songs – Love Runs Deeper and Did You Miss Me – that are blessed with the same combination of stadium thump and spiritual fragility that proved so lucrative for Fleetwood Mac.

Since that band’s venerable rhythm section – Mick Fleetwood and John McVie – contribute to Gift of Screws it is tempting to wonder why Buckingham did not save these songs for the next Fleetwood Mac album. But then an earlier solo album, also entitled Gift of Screws, was aborted, and a good few songs from that turned up on the Mac’s Say You Will in 2003. Maybe this time, Buckingham anxiously wants to prove that he can do it all himself, from avant-garde guitar noodles to fabulously airbrushed pop. The critical acclaim is in the bag these days. Now, if only he could sell millions without the Fleetwood Mac brand name.

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Rock review: Lindsey Buckingham, Gift of Screws

The Guardian, Friday September 12th 2008
Dave Simpson

Lindsey Buckingham
Gift of Screws
Reprise, 2008
Lindsey Buckingham - Gift Of Screws

At the height of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours supernova, guitarist Lindsey Buckingham suddenly started listening to Talking Heads and the Clash. Gift of Screws’ harder moments suggest these influences remain, though Buckingham has returned to the ethereal pop-rock songwriting that spawned the band’s classic hits. With the trusty Mick Fleetwood-John McVie rhythm section giving lots of sonic wallop, this is more than just a Mac album without the female vocalists: Buckingham seems to be rediscovering some sort of idealism. Time Precious Time addresses life’s urgency with virtuoso brilliance. Did You Miss Me, with its uplifting hook and lyrics about dreaming and loss, is the best pop song he has written since Go Your Own Way.

Rating **** (4) out of ***** (5)

Fleetwood Mac legend Lindsey Buckingham mixes the old and new

Lindsey Buckingham tells our correspondent how he found happiness after the madness of Fleetwood Mac

By Priya Elan
Times Online

Miles beyond Sunset Strip, beyond the Hollywood sign and Laurel Canyon, a familiar sound is coming from a rehearsal stage.

The opening couplet of Go Your Own Way wafts across the Warner Brothers lot in Burbank, California: “Loving you/ Isn’t the right thing to do . . .” The Fleetwood Mac legend Lindsey Buckingham is in final rehearsals for a six-week solo tour. A tour de force of Californian angst, the song first appeared on Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours album – whose smooth curves masked a partner-swapping, drug-snorting epic of dysfunction. Those songs still resonate today – in recent months both Vampire Weekend and Fleet Foxes have covered Mac songs.

“Our first show is in two days, but I don’t feel like we’re quite ready,” he says, but that’s just the perfectionist in him speaking. In truth the show is an exhilarating mix of the old and new, reworked Mac classics combined with lost solo singles and tracks from his new album Gift of Screws. It’s a career-spanning set at a time when Buckingham is, he declares, “the happiest I’ve ever been”. Continue reading Fleetwood Mac legend Lindsey Buckingham mixes the old and new

BBC Online Review of Gift Of Screws

Lindsey Buckingham
Gift Of Screws [Reprise]
Released: 15 September 2008
Catalogue number: 9362-49833-4

by Chris Jones
12 September 2008

Lindsey Buckingham, chiselled, unsmiling guitarist with Fleetwood Mac, first began recording Gift Of Screws between 1995 and 2001. In the intervening period nearly half the songs recorded were hijacked for the reunion album by the band, Say You Will, as well as various other projects including his own acoustic album, Under The Skin (2006). Luckily Mr B is a very talented man, and despite what may have seemed the cream of the crop being diverted for the greater good, the remaining ten songs are pure gold dust. This album is a gift indeed.

The title comes from an Emily Dickinson poem. The bulk of the material is self-played and self-produced. (with two songs co-written with wife Kristen and one with brother Will). Oh, and on another three songs some blokes called McVie and Fleetwood turn up to provide the rhythm tracks. It’s one of these (The Right Place To Fade) that Buckingham approaches the classic sound of the Mac, but elsewhere he’s his own man and the results are revelatory.

Most know the stories of Buckingham’s love of new wave bands that seemed at odds with the West Coast fare that his band epitomised. And indeed, Gift Of Screws approaches the avant garde in places. The opener, Great Day is quite some statement of intent. Fuelled by furiously plucked nylon strings it’s a fever pitch dash through whispered vocals and an incendiary guitar solo. Next up, Time Precious Time is no less startling. Over massed strings he intones like some alt folk hero a third of his age. From here it’s a brief (just over 39 minute) ride through pure Californian pop (Did You Miss Me, Love Runs Deeper) gonzo rock (Gift Of Screws), alien folk (Bel Air Rain) and so much more.

His voice is lithe, his fingers insanely nimble and his songwriting chops simply awesome. Really, anyone from the ages of 15 to 65 would find Gift Of Screws exhilarating. Quiet simply, a masterpiece.