Behind The Mask MAG

By Unknown, Unknown, Unknown

   Three years ago, this influential band of the 70's made a big comeback with their 8 million seller "Tango in the Night" LP, which reinstated them as a viable musical force. Now, with the release of their new album, "Behind the Mask," Fleetwood Mac appears to want to unite fans of the past with fans of the present. Originally the band (founded over twenty years ago) was an English blues-pop group, but with the introduction of guitarist Lyndsey Buckingham and singer/songwriter Stevie Nicks in 1975, the band found overwhelming commercial success. They turned away from blues, and instead, pushed Nicks' dusky pop vocals to the fore. A decision that paid off on their best selling albums, "Fleetwood Mac" and "Rumors."

However, though the group has re-emerged triumphantly, they have lost lead guitarist Lyndsey Buckingham from their line-up. Buckingham, who has been one of Fleetwood's most innovative members, was never fond of touring, so he quit the band in 1988 to pursue his own solo career. Because of this, Fleetwood Mac was forced to replace him with not one, but two new players. They are Billy Burnette - son of 50's rocker Dorsey Burnette - and Rick Vito, who had previously worked with Bob Seger. Both Vito and Burnette blend in well with the remaining players and add to, if not enhance, the group's trademark sound.

The new album has its share of blues, country and contemporary pop, all arranged in a complementary fashion. Each member delivers equally, with the songs coming across with confidence and appeal. Most impressive, in fact, are the contributions by both Burnette and Vito, who combine their talents in "When the Sun Goes Down." Vito also excels in his own composition, "Stand on the Rock," as does Burnette, in "Hard Feelings." Elsewhere, both players do well to maintain the compelling quality of the album.

Christine McVie, sounding fresh and recommited, is wonderful in the song "Save Me," and recaptures her regal stature in "Do You Know" (her duet with Billy Burnette), and in the title track, "Behind the Mask." Throughout the album her vocals are strong and clear, much as they were in Fleetwood's early 70's material.

Stevie Nicks, once the reigning Queen of Fleetwood Mac, relinquishes her throne to McVie and takes on a much more passive role in the band. However, she does deliver some strong material here. "Love is Dangerous," which has Nicks accompanied by Rick Vito, was tailor-made for Stevie's coarse vocals and makes excellent use of her confessional, lyric style. She has, thankfully, retreated to her country roots in most of her material and is, vocally, very pleasant in "Affairs of the Heart," and on back-up in "Skies the Limit." Most exceptional, though, is the haunting "Second Time," where Nicks evokes the presence of her once youthful, ethereal voice.

Altogether, "Behind the Mask" is an excellent collection of music, showing that Fleetwood Mac has readied themselves for the 90's and have come well prepared.n

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i love this so much!


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