2001 album for Scottish act with enhanced live acoustic performance added. The 2000 single 'Barcode Bypass' was named Debut Single of the Year by NME. Described as sounding like, 'it was recorded by some illegitimate, hybrid amalgamation of Babybird, Electric Light Orchestra, the Divine Comedy & Supertramp' & 'an interesting, occasionally brilliant dose of modern British psychedelic pop'. 2002. Mull Historical Society Is the one man band Colin MacIntyre.
Like their British indie peers Clearlake and Belle and Sebastian, Mull Historical Society seem to live in a hermetically sealed world where reality is glimpsed only through a filter of fanciful fantasy. The band is named after a genuine society dedicated to the preservation of tradition on their home island--the Isle of Mull, in the Inner Hebrides--and are a familiarly twee Scottish band. A mere duo, consisting of frontman and songwriter Colin MacIntyre and bassist Alan Malloy, their sound is bolstered on this debut with a jumble-sale of queer, quirky little touches: an alarm bell ringing in the background of "Public Service Announcer"; a children's choir accompanying the whimsical, gently unfolding "Instead"; and a mixture of samples, electronics, and imaginatively utilized household instruments that billow out of this record's numerous nooks and crannies. If you can hack MacIntyre's occasional simpering tone, songs like "Barcode Bypass" (the tragic tale of the closing of the local corner shop) or "I Tried" (heartbreak, rendered as a chugging, theremin-accompanied indie-rock anthem) offer a world so pure, so untainted, it's got to be worth a visit. --Louis PattisonSee all Editorial Reviews
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Apart from the influences I listed earlier this c.d. seems to have a real west coast feel to it.It's sort of upbeat in a way good Beach Boys tracks sounded like.One listen to track 5 "This Is Not Who We Were" and you'll know what I mean.It even adds the extra ambition to sprinkle the percussion with a distinctly Carribean feel.This c.d. grabs your attention from the very first moments.The opening track is really brilliant-it starts off with piano and acoustic guitar and bits of samples that sound vaguely like the Chemical Brothers.The verses are good,the bridge is even better and the chorus is to die for-you won't hear many better opening tracks.The second track has a pretty poppy feel to it,so no wonder it was selected as a single.Given the right exposure this could be a huge hit.Despite it's popular sound it still has a distinct alternative feel to it.The 3rd track slows things down a good deal.He uses choirboys to give a really beautiful effect and a really rich sound to the track.The array of guitars used is also impressive from conventional acoustic and electric to a baritone guitar-all played by himself.The track sounds pretty melancholic as he sings "Hold on to lonliness".The 4th track is also a pretty slow affair-the sound is more akin to alt American rock and some effects you'd expect to hear from Mercury Rev or Grandaddy.
"Barcode Bypass" is the closest song in terms of the comparison I made with Badly Drawn Boy.If it had been on that c.d. it would undoubtedly been an album highlight.The only downside to this 7 minute track is the falsetto in the chorus which is pretty weak.It's one of those tracks where the verses and chorus far outweigh the chorus which is really low-key."Only I" is another grandiose ballad-pianos and a glorious brass section dominate the sound of this track..Things become more upbeat with track 8-once again the chorus has a west coast feel to it-a great track.There are at least 2 chorus' on this track-so it's pretty commercial.The next track "Strangeways Inside" has a darker and more atmostpheric feel to it-the opening moments sound quite strange.The next track which follows the name of the group is such a mixture so many sounds and influences-wah-wah guitar,acoustic,spacey electronica,brass and flute.It has a latino feel,a rock feel,a pop sound-all about an island off the coast of Scotland.The final track is quite an epic-going on for over 10 minutes it's the most difficult track,yet after plenty of listens it's a great track..Lyrically it repeats a common theme of animal welfare.One look at the video of "Watching Xanadu" you'll see where this guy is coming from.
This album was one of Q magazine's albums of the year-after a few listens you'll easily understand why.
As you peel through the layers of Loss you realize that this is an emotionally deep and complex album. There's a fight against consumerism and corporations. There is sort of a Brian Wilson obsession on songs like "Watching Xanadu" and "This Is Not Who We Were." There is a loss and a sadness in the songs but it is more positive in the sense of the melancholy. Time passing and getting old is the loss. MacIntyre is like the Scottish Proust. These are big ideas recorded in a lo-fi way. "Only I" is similar to the stuff Ed Harcourt is doing. In "Animal Cannabus" he claims to be "hiding from the world." Later in the song "Mull Historical Society" MacIntyre sings "We need a new hall/To fill our membership of 2." Therefore this recording is a special relationship between him and you, the listener. At least we're not alone. This record is precious and it's like looking at one of those boxes by Joseph Cornell. Loss is an impressive debut.
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You will find yourself repeating every word with Colin after just a few listens.Read more