Fleetwood Mac. Photo: Sam Emerson

Hits and splits ... Fleetwood Mac's Rumours-era line-up, clockwise from top left, John McVie, Stevie Nicks, Mick Fleetwood, Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie, take time out from the feuding. Photo: Sam Emerson

Reviewer rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Approaching the 35-year-old Rumours fresh is nigh on impossible unless perhaps you have grown up in a yurt outside Ulan Bator. Even then, I bet Stevie Nicks's voice has wafted across the steppes singing ''but listen carefully to the sound of your loneliness/like a heartbeat, drives you mad'' and many a discussion has been had over a steaming glass of horse milk on the vexed question of whether Lindsey Buckingham was out of line with his crack about ''packing up, shacking up is all you want to do''.

This 1977 mega-seller is the quintessential mid-'70s pop of an indulgent Los Angeles as well as the clinching argument for the truism that if you start a relationship with a band member, make sure it's not one who can write a song about you. Since we all know the songs and the backstory, we can't come without prejudice to the remastered edition, now variously packaged with B-sides, rarities, a live disc, vinyl and a documentary on DVD.

Still, you could start by looking at the album through something other than the prism of the Nicks/Buckingham songs, giving more attention to the subtle playing of Mick Fleetwood and John McVie but especially to the songs of the too easily forgotten, quiet/not bitter one, Christine McVie.

Fleetwood Mac. Rumours Cover

Quintessential mid-'70s pop ... Rumours by Fleetwood Mac.

Buckingham's Second Hand News kicks off the album with a buoyant rhythm and a little randiness. McVie's You Make Loving Fun has an equally sensual subtext, a compulsive little groove from that rhythm section and energy breaking out of the pillow-soft harmonies via a cracking Buckingham guitar line.

If Buckingham's blue-sky Go Your Own Way feels like an encapsulation of driving some long road in the '70s, then McVie's Don't Stop seems tailor-made for a confident strut in flares, wide lapels and a lot of hair. And as sadly resigned and yet lushly appealing as Nicks's Dreams is, there's nothing on Rumours near as quietly beautiful and happily melancholic as McVie's Songbird.

If you're already sold on the album, you may be wondering if it's worth getting the extras. Although it has some decent crunch at times and includes Rhiannon, Nicks's hit from Rumours' self-titled predecessor, I don't think much is to be gained from the live disc. For committed fans, there are more rewards in the rarities/demo material. The demo of The Chain has an eerie, foreboding element to it that suggests it could have been a completely different song; likewise an early version of Silver Springs is lower, less optimistic and intriguing. And for those who doubted at the time, Nicks's compelling and stark Planets of the Universe - a demo not released until 2004 - will convince you there was a lot more than scarves and witchy stuff going on there.

FLEETWOOD MAC

Rumours remastered

(Warner)