Mull Historical Society - This Is Hope
Like Badly Drawn Boy, Baby Bird and The Divine Comedy, Mull Historical Society is primarily the work of just one man. In this case it's multi-instrumentalist Colin Macintyre. All twelve songs on "This Is Hope" were written, arranged, performed and produced by Macintyre himself.
Macintyre is a truly gifted songwriter (check out his first two albums if you still need convincing, but has never had a hit single (Corrections Ed: I think you'd find he's had more than a few), although his albums have sold moderately well. It's hard to predict if MHS's third album "This Is Hope" will break into the mainstream, but it deserves to as the quality control Colin's attributed to his craft remains intact.
"How Bout I Love You More" is a jovial optimistic song perfect for daytime radio. It's sings the praises of peace, love and understanding. If you love pop pedigree of this magnitude then you'll just adore this. The harmonies and arrangements are on a par with Brian Wilson, which is the ultimate accolade.
"Tobermory Zoo", name checks a character from vintage children's TV shows The Wombles (a reference which may go over the heads of Mull's younger fans). This had the kind of sound Madness had in the 80s resulting in a well crafted melodic gem of a song. The lyrics are unusual, abstract and surreal. Sample line "He got the cat on his back. He got his slippers on his shoes". It's a bit Dr Seuss but a top tune with an occasional nod to Super Furry Animals.
"Casanova At The Weekend" takes us back to the 60s with this trip down memory lane. This enjoyable romp lyrically mirrors "Becoming More Like Alfie" by The Divine Comedy. This could be the hit Mull Historical Society have been looking for.
Closing the album is an absolute belter of a song "In The Next Life (A Requiem)" which features the New Orleans Gospel Singing Sisters on this seven minute mini epic. First its sparse and sombre with the use of piano and drum machine welcome, but when the orchestra makes an entrance the mood and atmosphere take it to a higher level.
"This Is Hope" is what good music is all about and Colin Macintyre has a clear vision of what he wants to achieve. His musical ability is something to cherish, but his ambition and imagination is his greatest gift.
Nicholas Paul Godkin
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