There’s something about hearing these two latter incarnation vets of Fleetwood Mac come together and collaborate in such a way that throws your mind back to Tango in the Night-era FM records. There’s nothing these two need to prove; Buckingham having eschewed touring for more than a decade and McVie having left the band after as long a time. But their contributions were arguably among the band’s stronger moments – McVie’s vocals often haunting, along with her song writing rising above Stevie Nicks’ efforts in terms of sheer emotional heft.
Their self-titled collaboration works as a song trade-off: one from Buckingham, then one from McVie for the duration of the record’s 10 tracks. Let’s not beat around the bush – it’s a Fleetwood Mac in all but name. And in the absence of Stevie Nicks, it’s an incomplete picture. ‘Red Sun’ is an album highlight, and you occasionally hear the gap where her twirling vocals may have made an impact.
Right from the outset, ‘Sleeping Round the Corner’ suggests an up-tempo programmer, despite Buckingham’s weary vocal opening. ‘Feel About You’ is slight, a wispy singalong track that could have easily been recorded by an early 60s girl group.
Buckingham’s ‘In My World’ is very much cut from the Rumours/Tango in the Night cloth, so it seems fitting for it to be included on a record 40/30 years after the fact for those two. ‘Love is Here to Stay’ shows Buckingham in peak form in terms of his vocals and precise guitar work, and lyrically its more positive than the heft of the album would suggest.
Standout track ‘Game of Pretend’ is Christine McVie at her peak and prime; a piano ballad on par with ‘Oh Daddy’ or ‘Songbird’. It’s really quite beautiful.
There’s something about this collaboration which brings back everything you may have once loved about the second incarnation of Fleetwood Mac. It insists on being solid, immaculately produced, and resistance to toe-tapping is futile.