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4.7 out of 5 stars14
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 24 February 2010
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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on 1 February 2010
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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on 27 February 2010
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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on 2 February 2010
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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on 24 February 2010
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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VINE VOICEon 15 February 2013
The debut Tom McRae album is a corker, Mercury-nominated and the culmination of his writing up to the point of discovery and being unleashed upon the world. So, rich and varied and the cream of what was probably a vast body of work.

Since that, however, his albums have got denser, duller and darker. And not in a good way, for me. Dark, desperate, miserable and, frankly, a bit whiny for my taste.

Until this one! He appears to have got his mojo back. The tunes are just that, tunes, not dirges, and in the song 'Please' there is even potential for a crossover hit (if he wants it).

There's a market for Tom, and always will be, I hope - he's a talented guy - but I hope this album does bed down and spread by word of mouth and get him some more attention. Off the back of this set, he deserves it again.
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on 20 February 2010
Having been a fan of Tom Mcrae since pretty much day one - its safe to say I may be a little biased but I am able to be objective - really....
I received my copy of the new album this morning and have listened to it over and over quite a few times now. I would say that the stand out tracks are Please (no great suprise there as it is a single release), Out of the Walls, Summer of John Wayne and Can't Find You. But being honest I couldn't really pick a poor track. This album is more varied than Toms' others and shows a greater range of his song writing abilities. It even has some more upbeat sounding tracks !!!
Heres hoping that a few more people will hear this album than his others, its really time that Tom Mcrae took over the world !!!!!
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on 23 February 2010
"Alphabet of Hurricanes" is an album to savour and is quickly becoming my favourite album by this artist. The songs are varied -from the the wonderful, waltzing "Won't Lie" to the scorching "Me and Stetson" to the gentle "Fifteen Miles Downriver" which could sit happilly in Springsteen's "Devils and Dust" album, and the cleverly, dreamlike "Out of the Walls". Having listened to the album many times over the last few days since it arrived in the post, each and every track is a welcome delight and I know I'm still skimming the surface -haven't even listened properly to the lyrics yet.
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on 3 February 2010
There aren't many performers these days that I'll gladly buy the latest CD without hearing it first or reading a review - Tom McRae is in that small band, along with the likes of Peter Hammill and Glen Hansard. In a musical landscape that can at times disappoint, these are the performers that deliver time and time again. Okay, so they're not going to become household names (although Glen is on the way), but at times it's better to keep your integrity and keep on doing what you believe in than just chase ratings. You never know, eventually enough people will catch up with you to make it all worthwhile and seem less like that you're ploughing a lonely furrow - look at the success that Bon Iver has managed and you could hardly call his music mainstream.
I've played this CD half-a-dozen times now and it's definitely a grower. What comes across is someone comfortable in what they do yet happy to experiment with different styles in order to move the music forward. Sure, some of the tracks hark back to the 'old' Tom (American Spirit, Out of the Walls) but others maybe point to the possible direction that Tom's music will move in the future. All I know is that life would be a lot duller without performers like Tom doing what they do, and challenging us to come along for the ride.
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on 11 April 2013
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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