Album: Mull Historical Society

Loss, Blanco y Negro
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The Independent Culture

Colin McIntyre, who to all intents and purposes is the Mull Historical Society, is a left-field pop genius in the mould of earlier renegade spirits such as R Stevie Moore and Curt Boettcher, men who could spin wonderful, eccentric new designs from familiar threads of pop history. Whether he is simply destined for the same level of cult appeal as them remains to be seen, but Loss provides enough low-key delights to satisfy even the most pop-sated palate. There are the chimes and swirling keyboards that bring such a sense of uplift to "Watching Xanadu"; the children's choir whose innocence undercuts "Instead"; the horns and steel pans inveigling us to join the "Mull Historical Society"; and throughout, a mood of celebratory regionalism, McIntyre rejoicing in living "a better life/ hiding from the world" in songs such as "Animal Cannabus". His likeable 21st-century dropout attitude is perhaps best presented in "Only I", as McIntyre tries to reconcile his musical ambition with his desire for anonymity. It's a paradox reflected in the music itself, where the song almost drowns under a welter of instrumental tones. Taken as an extended expression of rural rebirth, it's a less compromised album than Pulp's We Love Life, more secure in its attitude, more attractive in its melodies, and unbesmirched by big-city disillusion. As he notes cheerfully in "Barcode Bypass": "I dream of growing big/ Taken over by a slob/ But the payday stayed away." Thank heavens for that.

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