I admit that I'll buy occasional big budget, major label records just because I am curious about what can happen when lots of time and money (something I never get to see) are spent making a record. I'm a big admirer of the first three Buckingham/Nicks-Fleetwood Mac records (s/t, Rumours, Tusk) - they have great songs, a killer rhythm section, and some classic California dry drum sounds. I bought this "reunion" record already knowing that I would miss Christine McVie's songs (and I do) but I was curious too. The bottom line? I'm kind of impressed despite myself. There's some really cool recording shit going on, and some of Lindsey's songs are very intense emotionally and sonically, especially "Come" with the flying vocals and crazy guitar solo. Complaints? Sometimes it's pretty obvious they built everything around a click track, it'd be nice to hear that classic rhythm section groove a bit more. There's a lot of percussion tracks, maybe too many? "Illume" starts out with an acoustic guitar through a piezo pickup, a sound that makes my skin crawl. Oh yeah, it's also way too long at 76:13 - longer than "Tusk" even. But really, given the situation I would expect this CD to suck to high heaven and I really enjoy listening to it. Partly this could be the fact that the mix is really creative and interesting with lot's of cool panning and effects - more like something Tchad Blake would do than you might imagine. Damn. Produced by Lindsey Buckingham with some co-production from Rob Cavallo and John Shanks. Recorded at The Bellagio House (I assume that's where the fascinating center pic is from), Ocean Way, Cornerstone and Lindsey's garage. (Excellently) mixed at Cornerstone by Mark Needham except for one overcompressed boring mix by Chris Lord-Alge at Image. Mastered by Bernie Grundman, and it's not ridiculously loud like some pop CDs these days. Thanks Bernie! Thanks Mac! (www.fleetwoodmac.com)

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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