By Michael Gallucci
Ultimate Classic Rock
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
The last time Fleetwood Mac made an album together, they were minus Christine McVie and enough good songs to fill its 75-minute running length. They’re still without McVie on their new four-song EP, but they fixed Say You Will’s biggest problem by keeping Extended Play at an economical 17 minutes. And if it sounds more like a Lindsey Buckingham record than an actual band one at times, at least Extended Play is the best thing released under the Fleetwood Mac moniker since 1987’s Tango in the Night.
In fact, Extended Play, which is available exclusively on iTunes, sounds a lot like Buckingham’s recent solo albums, but with a punchier rhythm section and Stevie Nicks’ backing vocals. All of which give the music way more life than if Buckingham – whose insular approach to his solo records often make them sound thin and narrow – would have recorded them himself.
The opening “Sad Angel,” propelled by acoustic guitar and a killer hook, crackles with more energy than anything the band or Buckingham, who wrote and sings lead on all but one of the EP’s four tracks, has done in years. It doesn’t hurt that Nicks and Buckingham still make a great singing team, chiming in on the choruses like it’s 1977 again. The song is the highlight of Extended Play and its only real uptempo track.
But the remaining three songs are almost as good, especially the closing “Miss Fantasy,” a shuffling pop number featuring a whispered vocal by Buckingham, with Nicks pushing along the choruses. The hushed piano ballad “It Takes Time” is mostly Buckingham until the final minute, when strings swell around the spare melody. And Nicks and Buckingham share lead vocals on “Without You,” a leftover cut from the pair’s pre-Fleetwood Mac duo days written by Nicks.
Fleetwood Mac have been performing a couple of the songs on their current tour, so in a way, Extended Play doubles as a show souvenir for fans wanting new material from the band. It’s not essential Mac by any means, but after all these years, and all these years apart, it’s nice to know that they’re still capable of making some sweet music together.