The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Music Reviews - SINÉAD GLEE­SON

King of Cards V2 If Just Like Blood spewed out malev­o­lence and All Maps Wel­come brooded on dis­placed love, Tom McRae has found a bal­ance with King of Cards. Gone are the po­lar moods of anger and in­tro­spec­tion; in their place is a sense of con­tent­ment, which opener Set­ting the Story Straight is at pains to point out. Like All Maps Wel­come, the tracks ben­e­fit from a fuller sound and an ex­panded line-up. So, even when McRae is at risk of wal­low­ing, he man­ages to side­step singer-song­writer angst. Lyri­cally, he has al­ways drawn lofty com­par­isons, most of­ten to Mor­ris­sey, and here he pitches be­tween per­sonal con­fes­sions and al­low­ing his mind to wan­der, trot­ting out tales about Hou­dini and Amelia Earhart. Blend­ing strings, gui­tars and pi­anos, McRae has fi­nally ditched his pok­er­face for open-hearted op­ti­mism – and it suits him. www.tomm­

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