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Lindsey Buckingham Christine McVie (Warner)

It would be rather grand to report that this album from the sometimes overlooked genius of Fleetwood Mac and a very talented former bandmate (that would be, respectively, Christine McVie and Lindsey Buckingham, despite what the never knowingly modest Mr B might have to say) is great. Or even really good.

Ms McVie’s return to the band’s live shows in recent years was warmly greeted, not least by Buckingham and Stevie Nicks who each now had an on-stage foil they could bear to look at.

That her voice wasn’t what it once was didn’t matter that much as neither was anyone else’s, extra singers were on hand to bulk out those once-sublime harmonies, Mick Fleetwood was still playing that long drum solo so rest could be had, and in any case we could finally hear You Make Loving Fun, Songbird etc. And that was an unequivocal win.

Some of that fan warmth will carry over to this album, the first time the two have worked as a unit away from the band. A project pointedly not called Buckingham McVie, presumably so as not to carry direct echoes of the 1973/pre Fleetwood Mac (far superior) duo album,Buckingham Nicks.

Fan warmth though can only go so far and there’s little here to elicit more than a “that’s nice” response. As in that’s nice that Lay Down For Free has a chorus with lush-toned bank of voices and Love Is Here To Stay features pretty guitar picking. That’s nice that the piano ballad Game Of Pretend looks like going deep, before an oversweetened/infantilised chorus undercuts andFeel About You has Paul McCartney-like jauntiness and willingness to tiptoe on the cheesiness line.

And that that’s nice that Too Far Gone has some sorta/kinda nod to Tusk drums and Carnival Began takes a slightly snaky guitar line, and later a good but generic solo, on a walk with an attractive vocal melody.

Nice isn’t going to cut it though. There’s nothing terrible here but nothing that demands or holds your attention, and not a single song comes even close to matching material from the moderately good last hurrah of the “classic” lineup, 1987’s Tango In The Night which has been resurrected and reissued this year.

As for matching those pop standards which made their names in 1975-1980? Well, that’s not exactly a fair standard against which to be held.

A fairer standard would be does Lindsey Buckingham Christine McVie make you want to put it back on straight away or at least soon? Does it sound like a record which could have existed independently of our “need” to have more Fleetwood Mac in one form or another? Does it sound in any way special?

No, no, and, sorry, but no.

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