PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.

Lindsey Buckingham: Gift of Screws

Ron Hart

Summary: Fleetwood Mac’s unsung wunderkind returns to the rock with his fourth and finest solo album, the long-in-the-works Gift of Screws.

Lindsey Buckingham

Gift of Screws

Label: Reprise
First date: Sept. 16
US Release Date: 2008-09-16
UK Release Date: 2008-09-15

Remember the days when Fleetwood Mac was an all-boys club? Back when Peter Green led the band, Jeremy Spencer was on rhythm guitar alongside the group’s namesake, with one of the greatest rhythm sections in rock history, Mick Fleetwood on the drums and John McVie on bass? Unfortunately, unless you're a rabid English blues rock enthusiast or one of those vinyl hounds who troll such brilliant, obsessively-knowledgeable blogger sites as ChrisGoesRocks, chances are the only incarnation of the Mac that you remember is the group’s popular 1970s lineup, featuring original members McVie and Fleetwood, along with Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, and Christine McVie. Sure, this version of the group made some incredible music together, as any fan of Rumours and Tusk will proclaim, but the dearth of their legend was defined by the rampant drug-imbibing and wife-swapping ways of their excessive lifestyle outside of the studio... the kind of lascivious behavior that would have tabloid cockroaches at TMZ frothing at the mouth to cover.

Now, this is just a hypothetical thought, but it’s interesting to think how Fleetwood Mac would have fared had they never replaced Green and Spencer with Christine Perfect (nee McVie) in the early '70s. And, upon, the departure of Bare Trees guitarists Danny Kirwan and Bob Welch, only recruited Buckingham, after hearing he and Nicks's largely overlooked slice of classic California soft rock in their sole 1973 offering, Buckingham-Nicks. After all, Buckingham, a gifted songwriter and guitarist in his own right, helmed the majority of the musical direction of all three of Fleetwood Mac’s cherished mid-to-late 1970s albums. Thus, it isn’t much of a stretch to consider the sound of the band as an all-male trio, and chances are the proverbial outcome might have been more akin to the jittery prog-pop style and cocaine flow of Tusk than the free-flowing pheromones and interpersonal conflicts of Rumours.

But at this point, why speculate, because if you pick up and have a listen to Lindsey Buckingham’s outstanding new solo album, Gift of Screws, you get exactly what was described above: Buck-era Fleetwood Mac without the chicks. That is, at least on three of the album’s tight, terse ten tracks, where the power trio of McVie, Fleetwood, and Buckingham deliver the goods with the kind of sonic musculature and showmanship that used to be the Mac’s M.O. The best of these is the album’s title cut, a propulsive rocker in the vein of the more kinetic moments of Fleetwood Mac’s 1972 masterpiece Bare Trees and the bluesy “Wait for Me”, both of which exhibit the musical synergy of McVie, Buckingham, and Fleetwood better than anything they have ever recorded together.

Elsewhere, tracks like “The Right Place to Fade” and “Did You Miss Me?” will remind fans of material from Fleetwood Mac’s surprise 2003 comeback album Say You Will, which would make sense, considering a good portion of the music from that album came from the original sessions for Gift of Screws, which initially was intended to be a double-disc set, but has since been pared down to its leaner, meaner incarnation.

Other songs here will remind you of Buckingham’s previous solo effort, 2006’s magnificent Under the Skin, which saw him utilize the Plectum-style guitar picking technique to a level of intricacy normally reserved for such living gods of the British folk movement as John Martyn and Bert Jansch. He incorporates this method of playing once again on Gift of Screws, wholly evident on tracks like “Time Precious Time” and “Bel Air Rain”. And there might not be a more poignant protest anthem in these times of bogus bailouts than “Treason”, a shimmering acoustic lament that stands out as one of the finest moments of Buckingham’s already-storied career.

If this is what Fleetwood Mac would’ve sounded like as an all-male trio, they should’ve kicked those chicks to the curb a long time ago.


Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.





Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.


15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.


Sixteen Years Later Wayne Payne Follows Up His Debut

Waylon Payne details a journey from addiction to redemption on Blue Eyes, The Harlot, The Queer, The Pusher & Me, his first album since his 2004 debut.


Every Song on the Phoenix Foundation's 'Friend Ship' Is a Stand-Out

Friend Ship is the Phoenix Foundation's most personal work and also their most engaging since their 2010 classic, Buffalo.


Kevin Morby Gets Back to Basics on 'Sundowner'

On Sundowner, Kevin Morby sings of valleys, broken stars, pale nights, and the midwestern American sun. Most of the time, he's alone with his guitar and a haunting mellotron.


Lydia Loveless Creates Her Most Personal Album with 'Daughter'

Given the turmoil of the era, you might expect Lydia Loveless to lean into the anger, amplifying the electric guitar side of her cowpunk. Instead, she created a personal record with a full range of moods, still full of her typical wit.


Flowers for Hermes: An Interview with Performing Activist André De Shields

From creating the title role in The Wiz to winning an Emmy for Ain't Misbehavin', André De Shields reflects on his roles in more than four decades of iconic musicals, including the GRAMMY and Tony Award-winning Hadestown.


The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.


British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.


Bill Murray and Rashida Jones Add Another Shot to 'On the Rocks'

Sofia Coppola's domestic malaise comedy On the Rocks doesn't drown in its sorrows -- it simply pours another round, to which we raise our glass.


​Patrick Cowley Remade Funk and Disco on 'Some Funkettes'

Patrick Cowley's Some Funkettes sports instrumental renditions from between 1975-1977 of songs previously made popular by Donna Summer, Herbie Hancock, the Temptations, and others.


The Top 10 Definitive Breakup Albums

When you feel bombarded with overpriced consumerism disguised as love, here are ten albums that look at love's hangover.


Dustin Laurenzi's Natural Language Digs Deep Into the Jazz Quartet Format with 'A Time and a Place'

Restless tenor saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi runs his four-piece combo through some thrilling jazz excursions on a fascinating new album, A Time and a Place.


How 'Watchmen' and 'The Boys' Deconstruct American Fascism

Superhero media has a history of critiquing the dark side of power, hero worship, and vigilantism, but none have done so as radically as Watchmen and The Boys.


Floodlights' 'From a View' Is Classicist Antipodal Indie Guitar Pop

Aussie indie rockers, Floodlights' debut From a View is a very cleanly, crisply-produced and mixed collection of shambolic, do-it-yourself indie guitar music.


CF Watkins Embraces a Cool, Sophisticated Twang on 'Babygirl'

CF Watkins has pulled off the unique trick of creating an album that is imbued with the warmth of the American South as well as the urban sophistication of New York.


Helena Deland Suggests Imagination Is More Rewarding Than Reality on 'Something New'

Canadian singer-songwriter Helena Deland's first full-length release Someone New reveals her considerable creative talents.


While the Sun Shines: An Interview with Composer Joe Wong

Joe Wong, the composer behind Netflix's Russian Doll and Master of None, articulates personal grief and grappling with artistic fulfillment into a sweeping debut album.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.