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  • Summary: The Mercury Prize-nominated singer-songwriter releases his first album on the Cooking Vinyl label.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 8
  2. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. The Alphabet of Hurricanes reinforces his status as one of Britain's better songwriters. Using banjo and mandolin, he's made a beautiful, contemplative record.
  2. For the most part, though, the songs are spilled out softly in McRae's high, honey-coated voice, and are centered around humble-but-plaintive acoustic guitar and piano patterns. This proves to be just the right mode for a guy whose worldview is rather less than cheery.
  3. This is a far from perfect album, but at its peak it’s highly mature, seasoned music. Exhaustion clearly seems to be beneficial to McRae’s unique sound.
  4. Gone is the rawness of his debut and the innovation of its two follow ups. More worryingly, he’s missing the emotion that made those records so potent.
  5. For fans of those unabashedly earnest and heartfelt records that was filling up the charts between grunge singles nearly 15 to 20 years ago, Alphabet might come as a needed relief from today’s bearded, lo-fidelity folk stars spewing abstract poetics. For the rest of us, McRae’s release is just too dated and inflated to take seriously.
  6. Tom McRae is so desperately trying to convince us that he's still a curmudgeon and angst continues to fill his soul, but it sounds unconvincingly flat.
  7. The hushed mandolins of "Still Love You" nudge it toward Sufjan Stevens territory and "Wont's Lie" is a witty gothic waltz, but neither does enough to atone for the mawkish excesses eleswhere. [Apr 2010, p115]

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Score distribution:
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  2. Mixed: 0 out of
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