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4.7 out of 5 stars38
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 13 April 2003
I was given Tom McRae’s first album at 14 and was bewitched by it. His second is no less awe-inspiring. Though the music’s style hasn’t changed that much, its tone and mood have. While in ‘Tom McRae’ he mocked and raged against society – its pettiness, voyeurism, consumerism, faceless corporations etc (‘Dose me up’ and ‘hidden camera show’ are good examples of this) – ‘Just Like Blood’ is much more introverted and focusses more on individuals and McRae’s perceptions of, and relationships with, them.
While this second album shares its predecessor’s raw passion it is less malicious, less explosive, and much more pensive – even brooding. It is eerily haunting, much quieter than 'Tom McRae' Having said that, the storm of strings in ‘Karaoke Soul’ is disorientating and incredibly powerful. McRae’s voice is fantastic – sometimes breathy and frustrated; sometimes soaring with plaintive purity over gorgeous piano, guitar, percussion and string arrangements that will take your breath away. A really brilliant album; I am in love with every song on it.
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on 28 March 2004
I subscribe to the notion that you should try anything once, but Tom McRae makes me want to upgrade my belief and request seconds. Just Like Blood is a slef-contained exploration of the usual suspects - love, society, loss etc etc but somehow McRae avoids the expected cliches to provide his listeners with something their mind can't switch off whether walking to catch a train or sitting absently watching TV, the refrains pass through you - just like blood I guess.
Many of the songs end where Trespassers William begin but none more so than 'You Only Disappear'. This particular track has the capacity to trick you into tears just as 'Mermaid Blues' can easily will you to stop whatever it is you are doing in case it distracts you from the music. This album demands your attention like a perfected soliloquy and combines the magical country sound of Ed Harcourt with something honest and unrequited.
I thank the day I decided to trust my instincts and buy something I knew nothing about.
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on 2 December 2003
I first heard Tom at v2003. While approaching the main stage he opened with Karaoke Soul and i was instantly hooked from what seemed like miles away. This has remained my favourite song, but nevertheless, i wasn't disappointed with the album.
Included in his band are a cellist and pianist (both called Oli) who play some beautiful arrangements. The songs are generally love songs but are lyrically far superior to anything in the charts. And Tom's voice is also like no one elses. Amazing.
I saw Tom McRae in concert only yesterday and met him before hand and he is such a genuine, honest and funny guy. He very kindly let a friend use his mini disc recorder to record an interview.
A great album and a great performer!
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on 19 April 2003
This is the type of album that grows on you,
when I first listened to it, I wasn't really sure
if it was for me. So, I listened again and
realised - wow. The power of McRae's lyrics
show a deep and meaningful thoughtfullness.
This album is ideal if you just need to be alone
with your thoughts, or even just to chill out too.
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on 6 February 2003
Tom McRae is a name passed around posh Central London wine bars that used to be banks. He's one of those names that people think it is "trendy" to like, now, most of these turn out to be utter well....erm Belle and Sebastien (sorry if u like them)! Whereas Tom is different.
The first album bought us melodic, beautiful choir boy singing, and deep piercing lyrics. The second brings that over, but lends itself more now to the followings of Thom Yorke and Nick Cave. The trendy wine bar image still remains, but he has backed it up with a breath taking spine tingling beaut! The first time i heard it, the hairs stood up on the back of my neck.
Packed with top tunes like "a day like today", "stronger than dirt" "karaoke soul" and "line of fire" he can do no wrong. The pain in his heart obviously still remains, longer than the trendy wine bar-ees who head home to their manufactured, big names. The album deserves recognition, he deserves recognition, he deserves to be big, massive in fact. BUY IT!
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on 1 March 2003
This album is outstanding, with david gray like guitar riffs, radiohead like effects and an uncomparible style makes this album one of the best and most original of the year. It may not be ground breaking but it's filled with such emotion it's "Just Like A Piece Of Art." Everybody raves about Coldplay and such but really Britains real talent is as yet undiscovered by the mainstream. The songs that stand out from the rest are "You Only Disappear" and "Mermaid Blues" , however the whole album is relatively remarkable. I recommend this album to anyone who is a fan of deep emotive, relaxing, restrospective and extrodinarily touching music. I wish all the best to this young starlet and hope that if he does find superstardom it does not affect this quality of his music as it has done to so many others.
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on 4 December 2003
Wow is all I can say I have had this album for a while now but everytime I listen to it it nearly brings me to tears. "Every song on here is classic....." I have read that line on many a review and purchased the albums only to be a little dissapointed. This album I can truly say is a classic. Turn the lights down low, pop a couple of candles on, turn the stereo up grab a beer or a glass of wine and absorb what real feeling and music is without any of the artificial pop sounds of the albums around at the moment...... Oh and guess what he even wrote the songs..... yes there are people who can do that still. Buy it!!
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on 5 February 2003
McRae's eponymous debut was nothing short of genius, and has probably been the most played disc in my collection over the last couple of years.
Needless to say expectations were high for the latest release.
So does it meet expectations? Well almost.
Just like Blood is a fine album of well crafted songs that almost lives up to the debut. The whole record has a softer edge, and the dark undertones are less prevelent than the original. In short I suspect this album is a grower, and half expect to give it a 5 star rating in a month or so's time. However for now it lacks the impact of the debut.
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on 11 April 2003
I had seen posters advertising 'Just Like Blood' in a little out-of-the-way record shop for some time, but I paid it little attention until Tom McRae featured as a guest on Never Mind the Buzzcocks.
A clip of A Day Like Today was played as he was introduced, and from those few brief seconds, I have been captured by his music.
At ten tracks and only forty minutes long, Just Like Blood seems today to be a relativly short work; but every second of this record makes far longer albums by more well known performers pale in comparison.
From the xylophone riff and slow strings of A Day Like Today (one of the best opening tracks I've ever heard) to the melancholy of Overthrown and beyond, Just Like Blood never gives you the chance to stop and collect your thoughts before McRae is burning yet another beautifully crafted lyrical image into your mind.
Being a life-long fan of David Gray (yes, even before Babylon made him 'main-stream), I can see Tom being catapulted into the main record-buying public's attention and far surpassing his peers.
Beautiful, sad and uplifting are just three words which can never fully encompass the sheer emotional power of this album.
No matter what mood you're in, there are at least half a dozen tracks on this album to suit it, with many transcending mere emotion.
The stark piano and guitar opening of You Only Disappear drifts (via cello) into an uplifting and soaring chorus in which McRae gets to fully spread his wings and display the great range of his vocal skill.
Like many things in life, the beauty of Just Like Blood cannot properly be experienced without hearing it.
And after the first time, every other time that you hear this album something previously unnoticed comes to the fore.
Beautiful, sad and uplifting.
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on 12 February 2003
Tom McRae is a rare commodity being a singer song writer in todays climate of pop music being the forefront of british chart music.His debut was a reasonable effort with recognition coming from a mecury music award nomination and a brit award nomination. 2-3 years on 'just like blood' is the follow up and it doesnt disappoint. hard to pick a track that isnt good out of the ten on the album. highlights for me are 'day like today', 'only disappear' and the cracking, must be future single 'karioke soul'. You can see Tom McRae being around for a long time providing the music industry allows talented musicians to be heard in the future, for the time being we have two albums worth listening to over and over again from Tom McRae!
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