On his sixth solo album, Fleetwood Mac's Lindsey Buckingham continues his string of releases featuring slick, crisp, sophisticated wry lyrics. Unlike his last studio effort, the acoustic-based Under the Skin
(Reprise 2006), Gift Of Screws
features incendiary electric guitar layered over minor chords with many of the signature grooves that Buckingham (and Fleetwood Mac) built his reputation on.
Though not the balls-to-wall, electric, all-out rock record he promised would follow Under The Skin, Gift Of Screws is nonetheless a much edgier pop-rock CD. Based on the dark, introspective themes that permeate both recordings, it would appear that they were recorded during the same sessions or at least written during the same time period.
Buckingham is a musical sponge. He has absorbed the vibes and nuances of many different musical genres and has creatively mixed and meshed these influences into a musical sauce all his own. On Gift Of Screws, his inspirations are quite evident; his new wave, punky modern rock influences very much on display on the opener, "Great Day." The song loudly announces that Buckingham is still capable of rockin' out, with its incendiary fretwork and chugging drums.
The bluesy rocker "Wait for You" provides a glimpse of what might have been had this been a Fleetwood Mac project rather than a solo offering. With Mick Fleetwood on drums and John McVie on bass, "Wait for You" has the feel and groove that would be at home on either an early or late-era Fleetwood Mac disc. It's a dense, multi-layered chewy chunk of roadhouse blues that immediately gets the feet tapping and the head bopping. "The Right Place to Fade" is another Fleetwood Mac-style song, with its strumming guitar, sing-along chorus and Fleetwood's powerhouse drumming. The disc closes with the gospel-influenced "Treason," which ruminates on love, loss and redemption.
Gift Of Screws is a solid release, albeit a short one with only 10 tracks. While not on par with Out of The Cradle (Reprise, 1992)the zenith of his solo career that some laud as a masterpieceGift Of Screws powerfully announces that Buckingham is still a musical force.
Personnel: Lindsey Buckingham: guitar, vocals; Mick Fleetwood: percussion, drums; John McVie: bass; John Pierce: bass; Walfredo Reyes: drums.