There are some mighty fine trinkets in this 16-song chest of underground punk, pop, and utter oddness. Fruitbat -- one of the ex-founding members of Carter: The Unstoppable Sex Machine -- formed the new Spinach Records label and uses this compilation method to expose his favorite underexposed musicians. The variety is refreshingly wide on this one. Because, while there is the romantic flap of Big Orange's "Andrea" or the early '90s British indie soars of Pharmacy's "Be Still," there's also an endearing selection of the delightfully unusual. Lord Leamington, for example, marches in with the Pop Will Eat Itself-like "The Onion Bhaji Song," Malowski yowl with the adolescent electro-punk of "Cherryade," and Fruitbat's own Abdoujaparov storms off with great forlorn, early-Carter poise. Just wait, though. The real breakout is the extremely amusing silliness of The George Dong Singers' "We Are the George Dong Singers." About as wonderfully simplistic and stupid as their name suggests, they are represented by a song of such bloopy, anthemic allure that it gives a whole new hope for unpretentious, intelligently dumb pop music. The rest of these songs are far from shambles either. Even when some might trail off without leaving one memory imprint, none of the songs on this compilation have the self-important gloss that so many high-profile acts demand. Plus, with the whole package topped off by some personal track-to-track notes by Fruitbat himself, the entire parcel has quite a sense of private charm about it. Quite rightly, this compilation is a success. There's a Madman on the Roof is a youthful, high-spirited peek into a musical subculture that -- thankfully -- never takes itself too seriously.
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AllMusic Review by Dean Carlson