label: Beggars XL Recording
our score: 4.0 out of 5.0
on the Isle of Mull might not bat an eyelid when the name Colin
MacIntyre is mentioned. But for many on the sleepy Atlantic coast
island, that is the name putting the lesser-known Scottish place
back onto the map. MacIntyre is the man behind Mull Historical
Society. Not the original one that delves back into his ancestral
past, but the new audio-friendly version which belts out decent
tunes like there is no tomorrow. On the bands website MacIntyre
has kindly included a lot of factual information about his homeland
and there is even a link for people wanting to holiday there with
Society made quite a splash when their debut album, Loss,
was released in 2001, much of the attention grabbed because of
the bands unusual name. But with Us they had the
chance to prove that their talent is rooted in more than just
picking cool names. And they have largely succeeded.
is an album that moves through distinct phases and seems to mature
as goes on, from a song-by-song approach at the start to a more
integrated ending with hints of Badly Drawn Boy about it. You
may have heard the bands single, "The Final Arrears",
on the radio already, but the album shows it up to be a shallow
and tinny song that is easily bettered elsewhere. "Am I Wrong",
"Oh Mother" and "Dont Take Your Love Away
From Me" are all to be preferred, although its not
until the last half of the album that things really get cooking.
The "Supermarket Strikes Back" is a perceptive look
at modern life which, along with "Clones" and the musically
triumphant "Us", takes things onto a higher level and
ultimately saves the album from nose-diving into the deep waters
of the Atlantic.
moving to Glasgow to study many years ago, Mull Historical Society
retain their rural roots in Us, notably at the end of the
title track when sheep take centre stage for a while. And there
is the effective use of the shipping news sample in "The
Final Arrears", an influence that always seems to work well
in music and has also come in handy for Blur and Black Box Recorder.
to the songs on the album, there are four bonus tracks to be found
when you shove the CD into a PC, which is FAB. Us is not
the album that will hoist Mull Historical Society onto a pedestal,
but it is a pleasant enough meander through the mind of a talented
individual. As MacIntyre starts a lengthy UK tour this month,
you could do worse than to check out what this society has to
* For those
of you interested in learning more about the Isle of Mull, the
people of Mull and their sheep, check out the website on www.mullhistoricalsociety.com.
You might even want to take a look at the information about the
band while you are logged onto it!
The Final Arrears
2. Am I Wrong
3. Oh Mother
5. Live Like The Automatics
6. Don't Take Your Love Away From Me
7. Minister for Genetics and Insurance M.P.
8. 5 More Minutes
11. The Supermarket Strikes Back
13. Her Is You