CD Review - Walter Egan: The Lost Album
by Doug Stone
Like his genius cohort Lindsey Buckingham, who again helps out here, Egan is an infinitely talented oddball, but also such a consummate professional that his lofty tunes sometimes slide right through the public consciousness. Thus, his songs are more successful covered by other acts (Gram Parsons, Night), just as Buckingham benefits from the contrast of Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie (who also makes an appearance). Musically, the '80s are not very fondly remembered, and West Coast class fell out of vogue in the '70s, but this unreleased record from 1985 delivers well-crafted sophisti-pop which is, of course, very easy to digest. The term "Spielberg sky" from the very cool "Invisible Man" describes the inaccessibility of Egan's almost too-perfect ditties: high quality but sometimes too deceptively clear. This tune also drops an autobiographical Dangerfield reference. The remainder of the release renders further study in the cynical Californication of this former East-Coaster. Besides Egan's disdain for label politics snaking subtly through the lyrics, a weary personal disenchantment creeps to the surface. Egan dedicates The Lost Album to the spirit of Randy California, and one cut, "Silvery Sleep" (an Elvis Presley anagram), laments a friend's suicide. In "Loneliest Boy," Buckingham cannibalizes his own acoustic finger-work from "Never Go Back Again," as Egan did indeed drop out for more than a decade (excepting a singular, unobtrusive return to his surf roots on A Malibu Kind of Christmas).