Michele Stodart Michele Stodart London Over a decade since The Magic Numbers landed in the top ten with their double-platinum-selling debut album, Michele Stodart has taken temporary leave of the band she formed with her brother Romeo, to release her second solo album ‘Pieces’. Released four years after her solo debut, ‘Wide-Eyed Crossing’, the nine songs that comprise ‘Pieces’ confirm that, almost by stealth, Michele has turned into an artist whose work bears strong comparison to some of the touchstone songwriters that helped shape her outlook. “With your first album,” explains Michele, “It’s very much a matter of planting your flag in in the ground, assembling the best songs you’ve got, and saying, ‘Here I am.’ With this one though, I could start thinking about something more narrated and focus on the storytelling a bit more.” For Michele, it was a matter of getting tone and texture right. One of the earliest songs to take shape on the record was ‘Something About You’, which set the emotional temperature for much of what followed. It’s impossible to miss the aching intensity in Michele’s delivery, as she tells her younger self that “life waits for no girl/ Who fears the dance of letting go” over a breathtakingly ornate string arrangement. The bedrock of Michele’s writing is a reliance on rock-solid melodies that always stop short of outstaying their welcome. Keen to ensure that the tunes earned their place on the record, Michele wrote most of the songs on ‘Pieces’ away from her guitar – only setting them to chord sequences when they refused to leave her head.