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
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".