Fleetwood Mac are back with their first new recordings as a band for 10 years. Particularly from the thinking man’s guitar hero Lindsey Buckingham, there have been plenty of solo projects in more recent years and Stevie Nicks even managed an acclaimed solo album in 2011 (In Your Dreams).
But this is the first time since the whopping 18-track album Say You Will of 2003 that Fleetwood Mac have recorded new music. At this stage it seems very much like they are testing the waters because they’ve only released four songs on an EP with the nice little title of Extended Play. Word is Nicks is reluctant to release a full album if it’s not going to sell and that her long time sparring partner / love / muse / ex Buckingham is more keen.
So the EP is kind of a hedging of bets. If it sells then Fleetwood Mac fans can expect a new album. If it doesn’t, then expect them to keep touring as a collective but to only get new releases in the form of solo projects.
I hope they do a full album and that they realize the comparatively (for them) mediocre sales of their last album shouldn’t dissuade them from attempting to further their legacy, rather than just maintaining it. Say You Will had some highlights (namely Bleed To Love Her and Steal Your Heart Away), but suffered from being too long and sounding a bit like the combination of two solo albums from Buckingham and Nicks. Without Christine McVie (who retired in the late 90s to the English countryside), this is always going to be a concern.
|Fleetwood Mac as they look today.|
But, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try. Live, Fleetwood Mac are still just as compelling as ever and listening to these quite excellent four new songs (albeit one that’s a reworking of a 40 year old demo) makes me want to hear more.
The new songs are reminiscent of classic Fleetwood Mac in that the material is autobiographical. After all these years, there remains something very intriguing – as well as unique – about two people singing songs about each other, to each other. And while three of these songs are the songwriting works of Buckingham, Nicks should know that nobody produces her songs better than he can.
Written by Nicks and originally an off-shoot from the Buckingham / Nicks era (before they joined Fleetwood Mac) in the early 70s, here is my favourite of the Extended Play songs, Without You.