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Two separate recordings. Each features one-half of rock's finest rhythm section. Both have the potential to soar. Both bomb.

McVie's is the easier of the two to take, if only because his vocalist, Lola Thomas, can actually sing. McVie's contribution is no more than his name on the cover. He didn't write and doesn't sing lead on any of the songs, and his bass playing is nothing special. Most of the semi-bluesy, pop-rock songs waft by like so much aural wallpaper. Exceptions are sultry numbers like One More Time With Feeling, Now I Know and Shot Down by Love, in which Thomas emotes up a storm. Still, McVie's "Gotta Band" is, overall, like a diet cookie: It may contain most of the right ingredients, and it may look like the real thing, but it's definitely missing pizzazz.

On the other hand, Shakin' the Cage, Fleetwood's second Zoo album (the first, 1983's splendid I'm Not Me, featured a different lineup) is barely listenable, thanks to the caterwauling vocals of Bekka Bramlett and Billy Thorpe. These two sound like dyspeptic cats mating in a gunny sack. Don't believe me? Then cue up How Does It Feel.

The Zoo plays energetic ZZ Top-like rockers (the title track, Reach Out ), but it's all so ordinary. And seldom has Fleetwood's drumming
been so anemic.

Fleetwood Mac fans are better served by Lindsey Buckingham's recent Out of the Cradle
or Stevie Nicks' hits disc Time-space. McVie and Fleetwood have dropped the ball.


Herald Writer