Anyone who took a weekend of their precious time to pay a visit to the V2003 festival this summer will no doubt have derrived some enjoyment from it. Coldplay, Chilli Peppers, QOTSA, The Coral, PJ Harvey, Morcheeba, oh and er..Feeder. But despite all these hugely succesful and brilliant artists (and er..Feeder) it was possibly the man who opened the weekend who delivered the most touching performance. (Well at least in Staffordshire). "We're just gona start this off with a few melancholy songs..", or something to that tune, was what Tom Mcrae coily uttered, and thats exactly what he did, easing the lunch-time hangovers in the sun, it was perfect. A lot of the material played came from this album, Just Like Blood. I bought it out of curiosity and soon realised I had stumbled across a damn good album. There is a beautiful edginess in all of the songs, combined with no lack of soul, invention and talent. You may ask what am I doing so far up this guy's backside yet only giving the album a meagre 4 stars, if you are asking this it's because Line Of Fire is crap. Although on the other hand you may not be. Nevertheless this is a wonderful record with lots of wonderful music, by his next album you'll all be on the bandwagon; watch this space.
To be honest with you, I had never heard of Tom McRae before. I presumed it was another wistful indie moaner beset by delusions of Morrissey or Buckley. But no, this album is a thing of rare and poignant beauty. After hearing A Day Like Today on Q Music TV I was transfixed at how such a delicate song had buried it's way into me! And the rest of the album did not disappoint. I cannot recoomend this album enough, it is my best discovery of the year!
I just can't get over it. This album contains ten fantastic songs, plain and simple. Marvellous arrangements, genius lyrics and a voice to make those so-called "Pop Idols" hang their heads in shame. Although there is the palpable air of sadness and loss (not reccomended if you are feeling down), there is an emotional intensity beyond "depressing" that arises out of this music. Take "Overthrown" which sounds incredibly eerie at first but get closer and it becomes the most fantastic love song. Another example is "Line of fire" which at first I thought was this creepy song about a stalker but now I'm not so sure, I think it's about angels watching over former lovers or something now. Of course, engaging lyrics are one thing but interesting thought-provoking musical arrangements are another, fortunately Tom does not disappoint here either and Ben Hillier (past credits include Elbow's "Asleep in the back") is a superb choice as producer. Musically, the opener "A Day Like Today", "You Only Diappear" and "Mermaid Blues" are the highlights, the latter will send shivers down your spine, if it doesn't, it would be prescient to check that you're still breathing! OK. So there are only ten tracks, it's a bit draining emotionally and you've never heard him before. Don't worry about that, take my advice and buy this album. You won't regret it.
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.
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!
In a time where even hints of anything resembling that which is dubbed "accoustic", are increasingly hard to find, Tom McRae continues to provide beautiful instumentals, accomanied by striking vocals, the likes of which haven't been heard since the late Jeff Buckley. "just like blood" is vastly different from McRae's debut album, both possitively and negatively. On a whole, "just like blood" is excellently constructed and the songs do seem to be "fuller". Drums, piano and guitar are a lot more prevelent in comparison to his Debut album, where Tom's voice took centre stage. The guitar sound is used to full effects on tracks like "Mermaid Blues", and it works incredibly well. I am still unable to decide on which album is better, as they are very different. The Debut screams honesty and his lonely voice is haunting at times. The shere simplicity helps to amplify the lyrics. However, "just like blood" is deffinitely a lot more friendly to the ears, a genuine "pop in the cd player and drive" cd. Either way, both are incredible albums. I suggest that you give this a listen to, and if it grabs you (rather, when it grabs you, for it is certain to please), run down to the CD shop and purchase the first album. "walking to hawaii", "Mermaid blues", "a day like today" are good tracks, but only when listened to in its entirety, does this album display its true brilliance.
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.
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!
In an age where follow-ups rarely surpass their predecessors and artists strive to squeeze every penny from cheap cover songs, one man stands alone in his quest to produce the perfect album. If his self-titled debut album wasn't enough to rock the boat of the musical world, Tom McRae certainly makes waves with 'Just Like Blood'. 10 beautifully crafted songs arranged in such a manner that your emotions take a wild journey without ever leaving your living room. From the quiet and reflective sound of 'ghost of a shark' to the piercing vocals on 'Mermaid Blues', McRae achieves new levels of artistic brilliance. Perhaps his best track to date, 'You only disappear'...no wait, words can't describe this song, just go out and buy it or forever feel the void it will inevitably leave behind.
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!