Promising debut fresh out of Scunthorpe

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Stephen Fretwell – Magpie

Fretwell’s spell as Manchester’s best-kept secret has been lengthy. Once record labels were jostling to turn him into the new David Gray. But his self-released 8 Songs EP tapped a more antique kind of craftsmanship. A deal with Fiction followed, and

now his tenderly abrasive tunes are on full-length releases. “Brother” echoes Dylan in its caustic intonations, while the small-town soul of “New York” soul of ?New York? is Springsteen for the NY-Lon generation. Drums and piano add drama out his lyrical voice is too banal to elicit anything resembling an original insight. A secret worth hearing, nonetheless.

Jane Gillow