4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Different but equally good,
This review is from: Just Like Blood (Audio CD)
Tom McRae’s debut album was a work of rare beauty so expectation is high for this, the follow up, the one they proclaim will make him a star. As I’ve had his first album for over a year and I’m still finding new things to love about it it feels a little rash to offer a review after only three days but here are my first impressions.
Firstly, this is quite a different album in a number of ways as the production forms a much more important part of the sound. The debut, though musically proficient, stood out on strength of the vocals and particularly the lyrics. While these still form a vital part of what’s going on here it’s at a stage removed. The vocals on Overthrown are buried particularly deep in the mix. There is little of the stripped down emotional intensity that characterised his first album and to begin with this is a little disconcerting but it pays off in the end.
When it comes to subject matter though things do get a little more personal and there are songs that seem to be directed to particular ends and people rather then just thrown into the face of an uncaring world. Mermaid Blues, perhaps the best track on the album, seems almost to be a love song albeit one expressed through Tom’s own particularly dark idiom. Walking 2 Hawaii seems to deal with suicide. The overall themes: the end of the world, drowning, disappearing, blood, stalking and pure spitting viciousness haven’t been diluted at all this time round, if anything they are stronger.
The major trouble with reviewing an album like this is that it is bound to be comparative, at least until the masses get there hands on it. I came to Tom McRae with no expectations, I heard the album before I’d heard of him, whereas I’ve been waiting for this one for a while now. So I’m going to finish by just talking about this one. Just Like Blood is a brilliant, tender, dark and unsettling album that succeeds in evoking several different moods over its short length (just 40 mins). Tom’s voice is astonishing throughout and the songs, though delicately constructed, are of considerable weight. It’ll be the best thing released this year and it will get better every time you play it.