This is one of Martin Stephenson's best albums with The Daintees: the songwriting is very strong, the studio wizardry kept to a minimum, and concessions to the sound of the day reduced to very little. So The Boy's Heart appears to be a roots album, a back-to-basics project after Stephenson's more mainstream pop efforts of the late '80s. A couple of songs flirt with country-rock with a lot of success, especially "The Ballad of the English Rose," and the energetic "Cab Attack," but as usual, the best songs are lyric-heavy ballads that showcase the singer/songwriter's heartfelt delivery. "The Boy's Heart" almost has a Negro spiritual feel, while "We Can Roll" evokes mid-'70s J.J. Cale -- ironically, it is dedicated to Van Morrison. "Hollywood Fields," an unaccompanied folk song, provides an understated highlight. There is hardly a song to waste on this album, a big improvement on previous filler-ridden LPs. The Barbaraville reissue (released through Voiceprint) adds 20 minutes of bonus material under the heading "Calrossie Midnight Sessions." Recorded on a night in October 2002, with Stephenson on guitar and vocals, and Henry Fosebrooke on percussion and didgeridoo, it features the singer revisiting six songs that first appeared on The Boy's Heart. "Hollywood Fields" and "8:30 Mowbray Morning" vary little from the original versions, but the title track is turned into a recitative over a didgeridoo drone -- more original than effective. "We Can Roll" and "Him, Her and the Moon" are given beautiful scaled-down renditions. With or without the extra material, this album represents some of Stephenson's best work.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture