The Mick Fleetwood Band
First Appeared in The Music Box, October 2004, Volume 11, #10
Written by John Metzger
If there’s any doubt that Mick Fleetwood feels at least a little bit stifled by the airy pop of his mega-selling ensemble Fleetwood Mac, the first few tracks on Something Big, his first solo endeavor in more than two decades, ought to dispel that notion rather quickly. Rummaging around within the classicist annals of rock, pop, and soul, the collective evokes the spirits of everyone from John Mayall to John Mellencamp with far more bite than any project to which the well-respected drummer has been attached in years. For the record, this is Fleetwood’s third attempt at a career outside the confines of Fleetwood Mac, and this time, he appears to be searching for something with long-range implications. His eponymous band is constructed as a loose-knit ensemble, and he and songwriter Todd Smallwood provide the focal point around which will revolve a cast of friends, both old and new. Making guest appearances on Something Big are notables such as Jackson Browne, Leland Sklar, John McVie, and Jeremy Spencer, and the set puts tremendous emphasis upon the powerhouse vocals of newcomer Lauren Evans. The problem, however, is that the songs, vibrant as they may be, feel borrowed — It’s Only Money attempts to respond to the rock ’n‘ roll staple Money (That’s What I Want), but merely feels like an unexceptional rewrite, and Making Other Plans stoops to plucking a line straight from John Lennon’s Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy). Other tunes are so full of platitudinous sentiments — most egregiously on No Borders — that they undermine the rest of the proceedings. That’s not to say that there aren’t some interesting moments, such as the driving blues of Bitter End, the rousing roots-rock of the title track, and the evocations of Bruce Springsteen on These Walls and Robbie Robertson on Passion. However, when the group delves into Jackson Browne’s Looking into You, it merely draws attention to the inferiority of the other tracks, thereby marking Something Big as an affable, but hardly essential, collection from an ensemble that is still searching for direction. ˝
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2004 The Music Box