Piece by Piece was the second album recorded by Martyn after his return to Island Records after a seven year absence. During this time, his releases on other labels had seen most of any rough edges smoothed off and his guitar playing become almost non-existent. The lighter jazz/pop style which had begun on Grace and Danger had taken over. Keyboardist Foster Paterson was a prominent contributor to the songs on Piece By Piece, which are a mix of the instantly memorable and the soon forgettable. The title song, written by Paterson, is one of the memorable ones. Elsewhere on the album, "Lonely Love" is Martyn at his breeziest and is the happiest sounding you're likely to hear him; "Angeline" is a sublime love song and has the honor of being the first CD single ever released; "John Wayne" would become a staple of his live shows. The rest of the songs, while not bad, do not stand out as these tracks do. Even so, Island pulled out all the stops in promoting the album and a blizzard of materials, including singles, a box-set interview, a tour program, and a press kit were issued. As a result, the album did respectably well in sales and even spawned a live album, Foundations, from the resulting tour. First pressings of the CD had four extra songs on the end ("Tight Connection to My Heart," "Solid Air," "One World," "May You Never"), making it quite collectable.
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AllMusic Review by Rob Caldwell