11 Songs, 48 Minutes

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Ratings and Reviews

4.1 out of 5
7 Ratings

7 Ratings

mrhig ,

Down Among the Dead Men

All Maps Welcome is the sound of one utterly lost, directionless, and far from home. Some of this is metaphorical, some of it geographical, some of it emotional. The album has its sad love songs (It Ain't You), its uplifting love songs (Hummingbird), the odd disturbing track in the grand tradition of You Cut Her Hair (Strangest Land), songs pregnant with metaphor (My Vampire Heart) and songs filled with musing and longing (How The West Was Won, Silent Boulevard).

It's a brilliant, coherent whole, and the only reason it doesn't get five stars from me is there are Tom McRae albums I treasure more (for a long time for me his crowning achievement was Just Like Blood, his second album, though 2010's Alphabet of Hurricanes rightly challenges the top spot). There's no real filler here, but you'll find some of the songs stand out more than others, and just one or two might lack the pop that would make them completely soar in the way they would when performed live.

As ever McRae has a masterful way with lyrics and some beautiful melodies. The theme here is that of being utterly adrift in almost every way imaginable (The USA - and a possible breakup - will do that to an outsider), but All Maps Welcome might just be the album you needed to make everything else slot into place.

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