Album: Just Like Blood (db Records)


  1. A Day Like Today (3:48)
  2. You Only Disappear (3:44)
  3. Ghost Of A Shark (3:24)
  4. Stronger Than Dust (2:39)
  5. Overthrown (3:54)
  6. Walking 2 Hawaii (4:25)
  7. Mermaid Blues (4:54)
  8. Karaoke Soul (3:48)
  9. Line Of Fire (4:39)
  10. Human Remains (4:05)

Tom McRae is the son of two vicars who grew up in a hamlet in Suffolk. He now lives in London and, after a long rest, the acclaimed singer-songwriter released his second studio album to rapturous applause in the UK on Monday 3rd February, 2003.

Working on his hypnotic d├ębut, McRae, currently twenty-eight, experimented with greater instrumental diversity and a richer sound and looks set to improve on the encomia universally piled upon his Mercury-nominated eponymous LP. This personal album, produced by Ben Hillier, is a bittersweet memoir of melancholia, dripping with poignant feeling. It continues in McRae's chosen trend of doom and gloom and arguably, this is an even darker album that the first, replete with evocative beauty and strength.

McRae's emotive voice tickles at the very soul and, as the final notes of the album fade away to nothing, he rips a hole in your chest, leaving heartrending melodies echoing within your ribs. Lyrically, he could draw tears from a salt-crystal and, for the entirety of this CD, you will be caught under his vespertine allure. The album's ten eclectic tracks range from the cynically sinister, epically beautiful or ominously apocalyptic to the pensively triste and effortlessly moving. I dare you to light a couple of candles, pump the volume up to eleven, then lie on your bed and listen to the wildly tender notes in an blacked-out empty house without weeping cold tears of empathy, sodden with emotion.

This is an album for the listener who enjoys basking in terrific aura - in the dusky and subfusc swathes of pensive sound that which McRae is so adept at conjuring up. Each song is more spine-tingling than the last and his deep dark hurt and vengeful mystery remains in your mind long after you hit the stop button. Not that you'd want to. His career's second LP has tremendous scope and will appeal to anyone who has ever harboured powerful hurt or felt unloved.

McRae takes the album's title from the following harrowing poem by Simon Armitage entitled I Say, I Say, I Say

Anyone here had a go at themselves
for a laugh? Anyone opened their wrists
with a blade in the bath? Those in the dark
at the back, listen hard. Those at the front
in the know, those of us who have, hands up,
let's show that inch of lacerated skin
between the forearm and the fist. Let's tell it
like it is: strong drink, a crimson tidemark
round the tub, a yard of lint, white towels
washed a dozen times, still pink. Tough luck.
A passion then for watches, bangles, cuffs.
A likely story: you were lashed by brambles
picking berries from the woods. Come clean, come good,
repeat with me the punch line 'Just like blood'
when those at the back rush forward to say
how a little love goes a long long long way.
CST Approved