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The Alphabet Of Hurricanes [CD]

Tom McRae Audio CD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
Price: 4.25 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

The Alphabet Of Hurricanes + All Maps Welcome + King Of Cards
Price For All Three: 20.40

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  • All Maps Welcome 8.99
  • King Of Cards 7.16

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Product details

  • Audio CD (22 Feb 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Cooking Vinyl
  • ASIN: B002VP3C4S
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 64,344 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Still Love You
2. A Is For...
3. Won't Lie
4. Summer Of John Wayne
5. Told My Troubles To The River
6. American Spirit
7. Please
8. Out Of The Walls
9. Me And Stetson
10. Can't Find You
11. Best Winter
12. Fifteen Miles Downriver

Product Description

BBC Review

Sounding like a tired and weary group of circus troupe artists trekking homewards through muddy country lanes at night, Tom McRae’s fifth studio album shows clear signs of having been made by a man suffering from a level of nervous exhaustion – prompted by a ferocious touring schedule over the last three years.

But thankfully this record is short on narcissistic self pity and somewhat longer on eloquent, windswept folk tales of crepuscular meetings, heavy seas and worn-out clothes.

The portentousness is ladled on a tad too quickly in places. The claustrophobic atmospherics of the wonderfully titled Summer of John Wayne funnel out into a pointlessly dirgy middle sequence, and Told My Troubles to the River has Waits-style guttural intentions that fail to fully convince.

American Spirit, however, is a gorgeous paean to lost passions that ends with McRae’s voice slowly fading from the speakers as he implores us to “swim with me further from the shore. Swim with me ‘til I can swim no more”. The album’s standout, Please, begins with a rolling acoustic riff reminiscent of Rider on the Wheel by Nick Drake, before veering deeper into a soundscape filled with a sooty marching band, dirty yet defiant.

Now largely free to concentrate on the music alone, following dangerous levels of hype early in his career, McRae confirms on this showing that he’s capable of producing an unfiltered, muggy sound where fires burn only to be quickly doused within the confines of just one verse. This is a far from perfect album, but at its peak it’s highly mature, seasoned music. Exhaustion clearly seems to be beneficial to McRae’s unique sound. --Rob Crossan

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spinechilling, Rollercoaster of an Album 24 Feb 2010
Format:Audio CD
I have been a avid Tom McRae since his first self titled album 10 long years ago. I always look forward to each new Tom McRae album but there is always an element of nervousness ... will the new album meet my high expectations from Mr McRae... and Alphabet of Hurricanes sure does.

Another fantastic release sees Tom going back to his roots; spine chilling music, great lyrics and rollercoster rides. From "Still Love You" with it's catchy, foot tapping banjo to the quite brilliant and epic "Out of the Walls"(just close your eyes and shut out the world with this track) the album is full of real gems.

The CD deserves to be in every CD collection, and we all know it won't receive the credit it deserves .. perhaps that's what make Tom McRae who he is though..........

...... maybe it's time to test this theory though!!!!!!!

Keep up the Good work Mr McRae.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars it's great! 1 Feb 2010
Format:Audio CD
I was fortunate enough to be played a promotional copy of this album last week and I was surprised. I have been listening to Tom McRae since Just Like Blood and always enjoyed his acute sense of how to turn a phrase and construct a beautiful melody but I felt that he had wandered away from his strengths on King of Cards, as if he was wearing a suit that just didn't fit him.
Alphabet of Hurricanes is I think his best work since Just Like Blood, and a close relation to his debut, with it's stark lyrics and bare sound, which occasionally gives way to huge swells of accompanying instruments. It is by far his most intimate album, recorded in his flat and noticeably devoid of the decorative frills of Just Like Blood or the jarring attempts to be overtly mainstream on King of Cards. It actually reminded me of the folk touchstone, Pink Moon. It is a very different record to that, but like that the bareness and poetic honesty is breathtaking.
Tom has a very unique sounding album here and it will perhaps in time be my favourite after a year of listening. More than anything this album sounds like a man who has learnt who he is, where he belongs and the sound of someone loves what he is doing. I hope it gets him the kind of attention he richly deserves, but I fear it is too intimate and private for a mainstream audience. I do not think that is a bad thing.
I strongly recommend it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the return of a great sound 2 Feb 2010
Format:Audio CD
Having received my copy this very morn and listened to it, I feel it only right to compliment the artist for this outstanding work. I must quote Mr Locke with his reference to "Alphabet of Hurricanes is I think his best work since Just Like Blood", I too feel this to be true. A rich and worthy addition to any music collection. In a word - Brilliant.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tom reaches maturity 27 Feb 2010
Format:MP3 Download
Don't judge this album on the samples: they suggest that the album is stark, jumpy and without melody. This is not true. This album offers the same mixture of sophisticated and eye-opening lyrics, saddening and calming melodies, surprising and harmonic backing tracks and rudely emotional yet strangely angelic vocals as all of Tom's other albums. However, this album is perhaps more mature. Although I do not regret buying any of his previous albums and still listen to them, Just Like Blood feels too experimental on reflection and fails to cohere on re-listening now, King of Cards seems, well, poppy, and, I hate to say it, but All Maps Welcome feels a little tentative musically. (Having set that, all of those criticisms could be re-spun as strengths.) I believe the Alphabet of Hurricanes represents Tom's maturity as a song writer where all of these different ideas are mixed together to form a coherent and moving whole. Therefore, chance your hand if you're new to Tom and go with your gut if you're not.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Listen Don't Just Hear. 24 Feb 2010
Format:Audio CD
Having listened to this album over the last couple of days, i can say i've been knocked out by it (or should i say blown away?). I've enjoyed all of Tom's albums to date, but would go so far as to say this may well be his best one yet. Like all his stuff, its got great lyrics (Fifteen Miles Downriver takes his lyrics to a new level); good tunes (Can't Find You, American Spirit); and rythmn (Please/Stetson). You'll need to hear this one a few times before deciding just how much you like it. So, listen don't just hear, and savour this real gem.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Like Tom McRae? - buy it! 11 April 2013
By D Hill
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
If you like any of Tom's stuff this album will not disappoint. I loved just like blood and have only just got around to buying this one - should have got it ages ago
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great 11 Mar 2013
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Really good CD from Tom McRae, his voice is superb......A great range of songs, well worth buying. Played in front of house guests who loved the chilled vibe
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