Tom McRae - All Maps Welcome

An emotionally liberating third album, or an even better description of this artefact would be that  Mr. McRae is the tour guide in a compelling, refreshing and laid back journey through life’s beauty, the mysteries of it and human emotions. The soothing style that trundles along in a laid back and friendly manner with McRae’s acoustically prominent instrumentals sends you off on a journey that omits the weariness of travel. The captivating 'Humming Bird Song’ wistfully weaves itself way into your conscience, as it glides peacefully around you like, well, the trochilidae member in the song title.
With six tracks out of eleven on this offering, weighing in at the four minute plus mark, McRae demonstrates ability to slowly and subtly build up emotion with a similar craft and skill attributed to writer Dylan Thomas. ‘Silent Boulevard’ is a case in point and represents the liveliest piece on the album, featuring the Finn Bros spiced up with a droplet of Damien Rice type vocals, plus a clattering and clanging accompaniment that facilitates the graceful wrestle with the topic of the cruel nature of humanity.

One thing stands out more than anything in subtle, slow and melodic offerings and that is the lyrics, especially when they are delivered with the soaring and compelling nature of the earnest Mr. McRae. The rousing chorus concealed within ‘The Girl Who Falls Downstairs’, aptly demonstrate the lyrical prowess that is on display on this album;

“And I see myself turn into something else, turn into someone else for a while.
  And I know I might run into this night, running another dream to the ground.”

With a crafted backing band that includes the cruising piano riffs of Olli Cunning; music, magic and imagination have a seductive soiree in the listener’s mind. ‘All Maps Welcome’ is one of the most polished and unpretentious offerings around lately, with Mcrae’s tender touch having the ability to calm down even the likes of Lee Bowyer and Kieron Dyer.

David Adair

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