Personnel: Tom McRae (vocals, acoustic, electric & 12-string guitars, harmonica, piano, harmonium, percussion); Mark Frith (guitar, piano, keyboards, bass); Tony Marrison (guitar, Hammond organ, programming); Tom Havelock (cello); Helen Thomas, Jo Archard, Fiona Griffith, Sarah Button (strings); Howard Jones (piano); Chris Hughes (drums, percussion); Clive Jenner (drums).
Producers include: Tom McRae, Chris Hughes, Tony Marrison.
Singer/songwriter Tom McRae joined the ranks of David Gray and Mike Scott thanks to his lovelorn poetics and heartfelt anguish, and thankfully wasn't ignored in 2001's surge and reign of male artists (Pete Yorn, Ryan Adams). His self-titled debut, both cathartic and brash, exudes a young master in the making. McRae seeks solace in plucking out the pain, leaving old wounds to heal without much care, but molding his soul into something more rough-edged and knowledgeable. He appears quiet, but the lure of an eyeful of tears and a shattered heart casts some of the most simplistic, depressing beauty on Tom McRae. "He Cut Her Hair" flows over a graceful symphony, and his inquisitive lyrics are haunting and mystifying -- think Sparklehorse, Nick Drake. An emotional honesty on cuts like "Bloodless" and "One More Mile" are melancholy, but one may get a sense that Tom McRae isn't an empty individual. He has a smile peeking through this lovely piece of work regardless of such lush darkness. McRae does music for himself while appealing to a wide audience. His debut is a solid effort and a brief clue to what's yet to come from this new artist. ~ MacKenzie Wilson
Rolling Stone (2/14/02, pp.62,65) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...A movingly executed pop war against cliche...Dead-serious and devastating."
Entertainment Weekly (9/28/01, p.74) - "...McCrae's astringency makes his candy floss easier to swallow..." - Rating: B
Q (11/03, p.136) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...Exhibiting all the versatility of a character actor, he sings devilishly intimidating lyrics about bitter betrayal and revenge with the purity of a choirboy..."