Album Review: Tom McRae (2020 Remastered Edition)

The events of 11 September 2001 had a momentous impact on the world, including the music industry. On the day the world’s most infamous terrorist attack happened, the Mercury Music Prize was being awarded. PJ Harvey would take the award that year but Tom McRae’s self-titled debut had also been nominated.

By Graeme Smith

When the twin towers fell, the music industry reacted. Ryan Adams’ song New York, New York became a hopeful beacon for those grieving, not least because the music video may have been the last to feature the buildings in its backdrop. Tom McRae’s song End of The World News, which had been prominent on radios in America until then, was no longer the message people wanted to hear and it was pulled from the airwaves.

Yet, it wouldn’t have a lasting impact on Tom’s career and the English singer songwriter continues to tour internationally. A planned European tour for this year has been rescheduled for 2021. He’s written for other artists including Marianne Faithfull and has released eight albums under his own name.

This remastered edition is a chance to return to where it all started and for fans to hear some of their most loved tracks like they never have before. There is a richer depth in these remastered versions, with added instrumentation. Tom’s voice comes through clear and mournful and, (what fans really love Tom for) his poetic lyrics take centre-stage. His sorrowful singalong-ability has gone nowhere.

This re-release is definitely one for the fans, but it’s also a chance for a new generation of jaded teens, yet to be born when the album originally came out, to acquaint themselves with Tom’s music. And perhaps, in 2020, the world is ready to hear his message.

Tom McRae (2020 Remastered Edition) is out on 4 September on 180g vinyl and double CD via DB Records.