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Dougal Reed | Rumours (Kitty Kitty)
I rarely read press releases, not for any moral reason, I just lose them and this is a time I'm glad I did. The picture on the front is enough to scare small, even medium-sized, children. Then there's the content... I seem to recall reading something about a man upset that his beloved Fleetwood Mac album was worn out and not being able to get another, but then I put the bit of paper down... anyway... nothing can prepare you for this. Dougal has, indeed, covered the entire 'Rumours' album, almost single-handedly too. You could ask "why?" and you probably will. The main posers of that question would be the band themselves, closely followed by the words "couldn't we have done that?" for there are aspects of this version that whup the original. Anyone who's seen Yo La Tengo kick a familiar song to pieces during a live show will appreciate the type of performance. Songs are lovingly destroyed by lack of funds to acquire the correct instruments or any technical recording devices, you half expect to hear the phone ring in the background, but then again, this looks like a man who lives beyond the reach of the modern world. Distortion is high, maybe to mask his vocal range when tackling the female parts, when not sung by Marianina Cecilia Pascale, or just because there wasn't a volume control on the recorder. This is shown on You Make Loving Fun where you do wince and cover your ears slightly, but then again, it could easily be John Ottway singing. Dreams has some wonderful shared vocal though, I wouldn't actually call it harmonising, over a spooky saw and other assorted noises that crash into Never Going Back with a harmonica and loud guitar fighting with screeched vocals. Don't Stop is almost normal, until the chorus collapses into wails and guitars that Yo La Tengo would be proud of. Go Your Own Way could be the work of karaoke terrorists and should have you screaming along in unison and sympathy. The highlight of the album is The Chain, sounding better for the pummelling it's given. It's throbbing bass part is gloriously recreated before leading into a howling finale, which is how it should have been all those years ago and maybe BBC wouldn't have lost Formula 1 to ITV had it been the case. You have to wonder why the Mac are so ridiculed listening to this as I Don't Want To Know could easily be Pulp. It's a shocking thought, but maybe they were actually huge pioneers of their time and shouldn't be treated with such scorn. As the album ends in a blur of noise and throbbing guitar it seems a huge can of worms is opening. Were they really the White Stripes of their day?

Laurence Arnold
November 2001

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