It would be fair to say that with 1972's Bare Trees
, Fleetwood Mac were the most confident they'd ever been since forming in 1967. Bare Trees
was an album which proved every member was as integral to the band's musical evolution as each other, as well as Fleetwood Mac's most successful record yet, eventually achieving Gold status in 1976 and later Platinum for selling a million copies. This success, however, did not change the fact that, shortly after the release of Mac's sixth album, Danny Kirwan would be fired during the supporting tour. A shame then, given that Bare Trees
was arguably the most confident album Fleetwood Mac had produced yet.
, like its two predecessors, is quite mixed in terms of musical style, and this is simply due to how much input each member had. For instance, you can tell the difference between Kirwan's hard-rocking opener "Child of Mine", Welch's groovier, more laidback "The Ghost" and Christine McVie's mostly piano-led "Homeward Bound". These three songs are in no way copycats of each other, and yet what links them altogether is how fresher the material seems compared to the band's earlier days. That said, some songs are naturally more noteworthy than others, and this divide between truly qualitative tracks such as "Sunny Side of Heaven" and mostly unnecessary closer "Thoughts on a Grey Day" is exacerbated furthermore. Whereas it would be safe to say that the first half of the album eclipses the consistency of the second, there's still enough musical innovation to keep the listener interested until the end (more so the end of "Dust" than the actual album).
This sixth album also sees Fleetwood Mac aim towards a slightly more adventurous style, even if most of the songs appear very straightforwrd in their delivery. McVie, for instance, sings on both of her own songs, yet the vocal range used in "Homeward Bound" is different and for that reason less remarkable than in "Spare Me a Little of your Love", the latter of which becoming a live staple for years to come. However, McVie's vocal delivery seems more strained on the former, and it's only really with her talented keyboard performance that the song manages to redeem itself. The latter, even though vocal delivery is relatively simple in contrast, feels a lot stronger and more accessible as a result, and so when comparing the two, this is seemingly more obvious. The same point can be said for Kirwan with his contrast of plain hard rockers such as opener "Child of Mine" and the softer, more elegant "Dust" (One of two songs based around a poem, and certainly a better song than the other), complementing Bob Welch's mostly softer input but definitely matching up to it.
Whilst Fleetwood Mac were yet to tap into truly grand mainstream success (Bare Trees
took a few years to get to Gold status), you can still grasp the fact that in terms of songwriting, Fleetwood Mac were attempting to spread their wings further into the helms of a bigger fan-base. A shame then, that this would also be Danny Kirwan's last album before being fired during the album's accompanying tour.