Stephen Fretwell- Man on the roof
Fretwell's follow up to successful "Magpie" is the wonderfully mastered "Man on the Roof" released 10th September. Returning with a more instrumental outlook, chirpier singles and lamented classics, Fretwell is back and dismissing worries of a poor second album.
When Magpie was released in 2004, the music industry took their noses out of the latest NME edition, and noticed that this new young talent could be the next Jeff Buckley- minus only such an outstanding vocal range. Man on the roof hopes to grab the same critics- a tough order and one I'm still undecided about. The Scunthorpe born lad has matured since his last album, keeping the objective simple, but the structure complex, the backing band focal and his gravely vocals highlighted- all points which heavily affect the final produce.
The real deal breaker is challenging the artists amongst him who approach the industry with a similar outlook- comparisons to Badly Drawn Boy and Damien Rice are evident pretty early on. "She" is a memorable track, and has the ability to make you contemplate anything and everything. Continuing themes of redemption, adultery and love appear impressively in "Ground Beneath your feet" and "Funny hats" in particular- mastering the ability to stick in your mind throughout the rest of the album, a craving for love and fame combined. A certain kind of recognition almost.
Hints of James Blunt are thankfully diminished as the album progresses, but "The Scheme" and "darlin' don't"- two of the weaker tracks, step into Blunt territory on occasions, entering cheesy romantic comedy backing track land. This was not a regular occurrence I am pleased to announce. A sense of modesty and honesty are what really can appeal to the audience, pensive lyrics and striking storytelling are only a couple of the qualities that enabled Fretwell to grab support slots for critically acclaimed acts Elbow, Travis and the mighty Oasis.
An eminent end of summer album, grabbing at those September blues and reminding you that its not yet come, don't panic- Christmas is still months away. It allows you to hang on to that summer sunshine, that dusk sensation. And I like it. Which is a good job that I like the album as a whole really. The artwork is fantastic, "San Francisco Blues" is fantastic and Fretwell is fantastic. He's no Jeff Buckley but when will anybody be crowned as such?
Stephen Fretwell will be playing across the UK throughout the month.