Fleetwood Mac - Extended Play Review

Fleetwood_Mac_2009 Ten years is a long time between records but for Fleetwood Mac it feels like the rest has done them good. Containing four tracks, three new Buckingham compositions and a reworking of an old Stevie Nicks track from the 1970€™s, the new EP, 'Extended Play' is as fresh and exciting as anything they have recorded for a very long time. At a show during their current world tour, singer and guitarist Lindsay Buckingham announced the EP saying it would be out in €˜a few days€™ before performing one of the new tracks. This created quite a buzz of expectation online, not least because the band hadn€™t released any new material for so long. Weeks later the iTunes-only release appeared without fanfare. In the gap between the announcement and release it was rumored there was a delay centered around getting an agreement on the title and artwork. Between the over simplistic title and the black and white cover it seems that the band fortunately decided releasing the music was the most important thing. The EP leans strongly towards Lindsey Buckingham which is no bad thing as his song writing and performance is clearly in rude health but it would be nice to hear the lead vocal shared a little more. By a long way the standout track is the opener 'Sad Angel' which is the best thing they have done since 'Tango in the Night,' possibly longer. It sounds fresh and new but it also fits with ease amongst the best of their vast back catalogue and would not be out of place on €˜Rumours.€™ While not holding the strength or immediacy of the first track of this collection, the light and breezy 'Without You' sways with a sureness that was lacking from their last full album release 'Say You Will' from 2003. 'It Takes Time' hears an isolated Lindsay solo on the piano whispering until strings join him for a dramatic climax. Despite a small number of tracks, 'Miss Fantasy' is still able to stand out as a particularly delightful pop song. If nothing else this EP shows that Fleetwood Mac still have what it takes in the studio. Each song is immediate and fresh which belies the familiarity they provoke after only a handful of listens. Hopefully it is the first step towards a new full length album rather than a souvenir to give the current tour an identity. The Mac is back.
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