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Album Review

Colin MacIntyre's voice is somewhere on a line that connects Lindsey Buckingham to Roger Hodgson, and the only other solo artist possessed with the kind of boundless, restless creative energy to write, play, produce, and design everything he releases is Todd Rundgren. Despite these factors, MacIntyre has managed to develop his own odd personality while also avoiding the pitfalls that come with being labeled a throwback. (Besides, would Rundgren put a wigged dog on one of his album covers? Probably not.) He doesn't fit with the latest new-rock revival, and he doesn't like to whine, yet he's just as modern-sounding and contemporary as any of his peers. On Us, he makes good on the promise shown on his debut. No longer happily adding layer upon unnecessary layer of instrumentation to his songs, he has learned the value of directness that comes with knowing when to put a cap on a song and let it slide without the extra blurt of kazoo. That directness has carried over to the lyrics; the only character in most of these songs is the guy who wrote them. Melody still plays a major role, though the listener isn't beaten over the head with it. A good balance is struck between breezily flowing acoustic songs and hyperkinetic blasts of guitar pop. MacIntyre's wise abandonment of the kitchen-sink approach would've benefited this album even more if he had kept the running time below 45 minutes or so; at an hour, some of its nuances are bound to be lost in the shuffle. This prime songwriter is too anxious to purge his backlog, but too much is definitely preferable to not enough. (On second thought, it's entirely possible that Rundgren might one day place a wigged dog on a record cover.)


Formed: 2000 in Isle of Mull, Scotland

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Scotland's Mull Historical Society is the project of singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Colin MacIntyre. A native of the Hebridean island of Mull, MacIntyre adopted the MHS moniker after seeing it printed on an advertisement in 2000. At first signed to U.K. independent Tugboat, MacIntyre got to work on cranking out some of his extensive bank of backlogged songs. The warmly received "Barcode Bypass" single was released later in the year and named Debut Single of the Year by NME. A handful...
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Us, Mull Historical Society
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