On Fool Like Me, Stephanie Manns has recorded a collection of songs which distils her influences into something universally accessible
ome Closer, the debut album by Glaswegian singer-songwriter Stephanie Manns, garnered rave reviews and with the release of her second record Fool Like Me she is looking to build on her early success. Although these songs are still rooted in Americana and folk music they are also accessible enough to appeal to a much larger audience.
A self-proclaimed Dolly Parton lover, Manns opens the album with Vincent Black Magic, a frenetic country number which would sit well in the back catalogue of Tennessee’s favourite daughter. Elsewhere though, the influences are much harder to spot and the rootsy moments kept to the occasional flourish.
Broken Heart and the title track are both cleverly constructed mature pop songs. Sloe Gin is a reflective moment of melancholy – against a backdrop of swaying strings, Manns sings “I was dreaming of her I was kissing your lips / tracing your face with my fingertips”. Throughout the album her vocals are crisp and warm, capable of gentle understatement and powerful emotion, as on the rousing Bonnie & Clyde.
A beautifully crafted song like Juliet deserves to dominate mainstream radio, or soundtrack a Disney film, and is the perfect example of a unique talent. With this assured album, Stephanie Manns has proved that she has catchy songs in abundance and is a readymade star with genuine crossover appeal.
Verdict: A second album that delivers on Stephanie Manns’ early promise.