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Mull Historical Society – US (XL/Blanco y Negro)

The follow-up album to the critically acclaimed debut Loss, Colin MacIntyre, Scottish singer songwriter and producer of Mull Historical Society, creates sweepingly melodic music with quirky lyrics and hook-filled choruses. The eclectic arrangements of piano, acoustic and fuzzy guitars, and strings are similar to the music of Badly Drawn Boy, Alfie, Squeeze, and the Trash Can Sinatras. “The Final Arrears” opens the album with a light tinkle and an uplifting symphony of instruments with lyrics of uncertainty, which descend to a circus-like mish-mash of noises. “Am I Wrong” is a stately swirl of piano, guitars, horns, and strings with a vaguely familiar and memorable chorus. “Oh Mother” resembles the Camp Granada song in subject and style, with pleasant sounding chiming instrumentation.

“Live Like The Automatics” is a stand out track with its fast and infectiously catchy beat and lyrics, Beach Boys style harmonies, and fuzzy surf-punk style guitars. MacIntyre alternates between upbeat pop songs (“Gravity” and “The Supermarket Strikes Back,” an amusing track about the simplicity of domestic life), to grandiose swells of orchestral arrangements (“Can”, “Clones”) to simple and slow introspective tracks, including “Asylum” which has a soulful feel, with horns and organ accompaniments to layered vocals, “Don’t Take Your Love Away From Me” and the stripped down acoustic guitar and piano of “5 More Minutes,” which provide an interesting balance to the cheerfulness of most of the other songs.

“Minister For Genetics & Insurance M.P.” mixes minor key desparation and unrest with an upbeat chorus and clever wordplay. “Her Is You” is a bittersweet track with tinkling piano and lyrics of lost love. The title track is a dreamy harp-tinged track with MacIntyre’s voice accompanied mostly just by piano and horns, starting and stopping several times before the album closes with a chorus of farm animal noises – an odd and amusing way to end a distinctively clever album.

RIYL: Mull Historical Society “Loss”, Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci “Spanish Dance Troop,” Badly Drawn Boy “Have You Fed The Fish?” Trash Can Sinatras “Cake”, Babybird “Original Lo-Fi”

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