FORMULA, BEATS-per-minute, ahhh. Fleetwood Mac really do have a lot of honour for folks with such a pile of cash. Coming after this line-up’s eponymous breakthrough platter and the sullen beauty of Rumours, the double Tusk was a brave but shrewd sidestep; people who milk and milk and milk one day find that their tits have fallen off. So not FM (thost apt initials!), the general usefulness of their extravagances forgiving, perhaps, the economically appropriate live double sloggo.
Now, Mirage may bear superficial resemblance to Rumours, but in actuality it’s far more UP, the lightweight feel locking with the title; it’s Parallel Lines (of what?) for Beverly Hills.
The cover photo, by George Hurrell, seems set to portray Lindsey Buckingham as sex-object supreme with Stevie and Christine fawning over him, while like a good Cheap Trick album the two dodgy geezers are consigned to the back. Like ABC, the Mac are still concerned with love: lost, tossed, reborn…Love in all its aspects. That many of the tunes cannot be called to mind after several plays is, for once, not a minus. It’s the ringing, flighty nature of the creatures, all harmonies and gossamer backing, that maketh the magic.
As always, Christine McVie is still perfect (geddit?), offering two of the best in the miraculous, meticulous cirrus hymn to a Beach Boy “Only Over You” and side two’s ecstatic, catchy rave-up of slinky repetition, “Hold Me.” And yes, Stevie Nicks is still in fairyland and it’s still fine by me, especially when on “Gypsy” she comes up with the amazing line “So I’m back, to the velvet underground”.
Of course, too, all would not be right in the garden if weird Lindsey Buckingham wasn’t still putting broken glass in the pate sandwiches: “Empire State” is tetchy, odd-rock about lusting after NYC instead of LA, the guitar as idiosyncratic as ever, as it is on his frantically compelling flare-up “Eyes Of The World.” Just to prove he’s a nice guy he also contributes “Book Of Love” and “Oh Diane,” the latter being positively, perversely Bobby Vintonesque in its unashamed schoolboy schlockiness.
Fleetwood and McVie the male are perhaps consigned to the valley of the back cover for a reason: They contribute nothing to Mirage (except, of course, their not inconsiderable performing talents). Still, they look mighty pissed-off over there. “Wish You Were Here” sings Christine at the end of the record. Mirage is sooo good…
Let’s start a Rumour.
Sandy Robertson / Sounds / July 17, 1982