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Man On The Roof [CD]

Stephen Fretwell Audio CD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
Price: £6.33 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Man On The Roof + Magpie + Park Bench Theories
Price For All Three: £25.30

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Product details

  • Audio CD (10 Sep 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Polydor
  • ASIN: B000RGH6OU
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 82,581 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Coney
2. Darlin' Don't
3. She
4. Dead
5. Funny Hat
6. Bumper Cars
7. Scar
8. The Scheme
9. Now
10. Sleep
11. The Ground Beneath Your Feet
12. Saturday
13. San Francisco Blues
14. William Shatner's Dog

Product Description

BBC Review

Whilst other singer/songwriters are getting choirs in and tidying up the edges with more than a liberal dash of Pro Tools, Stephen Fretwell is going his own way. Following on from the acclaimed 2004 album Magpie and the Four Letter Words EP released earlier this year, this Scunthorpe-born artist has delivered yet another impressive offering.

The fact that Fretwell headed to New York to write and record Man On The Roof has no doubt influenced its sound. Subtle hints of Americana flow through this release, which gives off resounding echoes of early Dylan and Springsteen in both the voice and music. With contributions from former Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha and Fountains Of Wayne's Adam Schlesinger, Fretwell is no longer a loan troubadour.

From the vaudeville-flavoured swagger of 'Coney', with its heavily distorted microphones and calls of 'Boom, cha-cha boom' (which wouldn't sound out of place in a boozy bar room at 2am), to the subdued brilliance of 'Bumper Cars', this album has an undeniably quixotic sheen. But it's perhaps 'Darlin' Don't' that is the standout, although at under three minutes its brevity is frustrating. Achingly beautiful and expertly constructed, it is one of those perfect bittersweet ballads that makes you long for a reprise.

After reading the sleeve notes, which give a cheeky nod to the album's title by thanking iconic children's entertainer Rod Hull (who plummeted to his death while trying to adjust his television aerial), you see Fretwell is more than just a master of the melancholy. Hinting that he doesn't take himself as seriously as other singers of his ilk with such flourishes and naming one track 'William Shatner's Dog' only adds to his likeability.

Unwavering in its simplicity, and a little less introspective than previous efforts, this album will find its way under your skin. Earnest storytelling, sincerity and a sense of humour combine to make Man On The Roof one of those albums which may not garner awards, but will win the hearts of many listeners. --Kate Sharp

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Less proves to be more for the Man on the Roof 8 Oct 2007
Format:Audio CD
For whatever reason; a lack of Radio 2 airplay, the demands of the American market or the inexplicable sales record of a Mr. J. Blunt the sparse, often melancholic but beautiful arrangements of Stephen's songs on the magnificent "Magpie" have in the most part been overblown here on a record that is overproduced and in some instances over instrumented. One only need listen to "Sleep" from the "Four Letter Words" EP and then "Man of the Roof" back to back to hear the difference. A great song on the EP featuring only vocals, acoustic guitar and piano has been drowned in superfluous drums and electric guitar. Some call this progression. I disagree. The omission of "Can This Be?" from the EP is also a disappointment as it is better than some of the material that is included here.

Ok, now for the good news. Stephen is undoubtedly a talented songwriter and musician so there remains much to admire and the CD still makes a fine addition to anyone's collection. Standout tracks are "Darlin Don't", "She", "Bumper Cars", "Now" and "The Ground Beneath Your Feet" and a fine piano only re-interpretation of "The Scheme" from the EP. The short "Saturday" also hints at what could be an interesting future departure.

Stark arrangements and Stephen's distinctive vocal delivery are what make his compositions special. His songs do not require "dressing up" as they are for the most part here; they are good enough to stand on their own. "Magpie" was always going to be difficult to better and this record misses....maybe not by much.....but misses all the same.

Hopefully, for his next release Stephen will realise that for the most part "less is more".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent - But something missing! 24 Oct 2007
By A. Hall
Format:Audio CD
I didnt know what to expect with this album, as the follow up to Magpie, I suppose it was a big ask for this to be different or exceed in someway! The opener Coney, really made me smile, and i thought, wow, heading in a different direction......although the rest of the album is the usual Fretwell! There are some good songs on this album, my favourites are She, The Ground Beneath your Feet, San Francisco Blues, Scar!

Although i do have to agree with the previous review, that some of the production is a bit heavy, and agree with the less is more comment......i think this album is a grower, but it does fall short of Magpie....however i could listen to Fretwells voice over and over again, everyday!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who needs perfection anyway 3 Mar 2008
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Here's a quandary for you - how can an imperfect album merit five starts? Well I am not sure, but I think it's because the gaps leave something for you to complete; less awe and worship, more connection and revelation. A window to the soul if you let it be, and if you stumble on it at the right time. Buy it for one of the gems - Darlin' Don't, Now, and The Ground Beneath Your Feet.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blown away! 14 Sep 2007
Format:Audio CD
'Magpie' is one of my all time favorite albums, and was hoping but not expecting 'Man on the Roof' to get close. Wrong! This album is truly brilliant! There is a really good blend of catchy upbeat songs and poignant slower tracks. 'Ground beneath your feet' is breathtaking, 'Funny Hat' is tragic yet beautiful, and 'Coney' 'Scar' and 'Dead' are more upbeat and sound really good too. Could go on.....
Buy this album now.

Amazing!!!! will defo be there to see him in Nottingham in October
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5.0 out of 5 stars Songwriting perfection... 7 Jun 2008
Format:Audio CD
Don't believe those who suggest that this album is not as good as 'Magpie'. Although 'Magpie' contains many great moments, overall it is a ramshackle affair. This second Lp is more focussed, tighter and generally more enjoyable, without losing that lightness of touch.

This was one of my favourite albums of 2007, from a singer-songwriter I consider to be the best around at present. Give this a chance. It's a superb, understated classic.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better with age...! 17 Sep 2007
Format:Audio CD
Quite Simply - 'Magpie' is a record of great emotion and raw talent. 'Man on the Roof' is all that.... but with a more polished finish that gives Stephen's songs a new direction. Still unique. Still superbly written and constructed - but most of all, fantastic production of the record.

A must buy album of 2007/2008. BUY IT NOW!!
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