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LINDSEY BUCKINGHAM
"Under the Skin"

Never one to rush his work, Lindsey Buckingham made sure
Under the Skin was worth the wait.

By SEAN DALY
October 6, 2006
St. Petersburg Times


In between albums, fights, sex, drug binges and more fights with his bandmates in Fleetwood Mac, Lindsey Buckingham has released just four solo albums in 25 years.

It'd be fun to blame former flame Stevie Nicks and her witchy spells for his stretches of solo silence. But the truth is that Buckingham is an intense studio perfectionist.

With the Mac, he's meticulous behind the soundboard. On his own, however, the 57-year-old L.A. fixture is a freak, a beyond-ambitious artist who sweats over every acoustic pluck and dramatically layered vocal.

Parallels to Beach Boy Brian Wilson? You betcha. There's always been a dark lining to Buckingham's complex Golden State sunsets, especially on the new Under the Skin, an album that manages to sound both very familiar (the lush, sunset harmonies of Down on Rodeo) and extremely odd (the frantic-pluck paranoia of baroque opener Not Too Late). It's not always easy listening, but it's never boring.

Buckingham created most of the disc using nothing more than his voice and his guitar, one man layering and layering himself until he sounds like a chorus of world-weary thousands all trapped in a lonely, echoey room.

You won't find catchy, quirky hits a la Go Insane, Trouble or Holiday Road on this 11-track rumination about love and aging in La-La Land. And if you're waiting for the guitar man to shred out a searing solo, there's no air guitar opportunities here, either.

But Under the Skin has much to like and plenty to wow at. On first single Show You How, Buckingham's backing vocals on the chorus dart like dive-bombing birds. Playing what sounds like a lute, he turns the Rolling Stones' I Am Waiting into a creepy-cool medieval meditation perfect for halftime at a joust.

And on album closer Flying Down Juniper, this father of three young tykes sets aside his neuroses and soundtracks his children playing silly games. The result is contentment rather than sap, a big-brained rock star trying to process, and enjoy, life as just a regular guy.


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Lindsey Buckingham
Under the Skin
Reprise
GRADE: B
 


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