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coverpic flag Scotland - Full Moon 98 - 09/28/04

Mull Historical Society
This Is Hope
B-Unique Records

The third piece of work from Mull Historical Society (MHS), which is none but a very talented musician named Colin MacIntyre. I was very excited to hear this new album after two amazing ones; the more than convincing debut album Loss (2001), and last year's excellent Us.

This time MacIntyre has been recording his song creations in Glasgow (where he lives), London, plus in the USA - Woodstock, NY and New Orleans. Hope is the theme or thread, and the tone is far more optimistic this time, even though there's a happily, dazed melancholic feel throughout the album. And Colin's talent for hitting pop song bull's eye is of course vividly present. As ever. Evene thoghhe's an eccentric artist. I'm tempted to put MHS midway between Crowded House and Radiohead.

This Is Hope opens with a spoken word intro before leaping into "Peculiar", which makes me think of good, old Tom Verlaine. Wow, is this the new MHS style I was thinking. For a few seconds. Even though a slight resemblance to Verlaine's voice isn't bad. But MHS is still Colin MacIntyre, and dive into the next, the majestic pop song "How 'Bout I Love You More", which MacIntyre claims was inspired by some drawings by Leonardo Da Vinci, on flying and transportation. Then comes "Treescavengers", which is even more seductive; laidback while caressing. MacIntyre hails from the Hebrides, and both "Treescavengers" and next track, "This Is the Hebrides", sets his mind homeward bound. In the former there's a bad feeling coming when he sings: "There's quite coming from Scotland, my phone fears there's a problem, a Hebridean disaster, needen't happen around us". Fear and chilling. The latter kicks to US when the lyrics include: "I joined the sinners down in New Orleans, America'Sadamerica's pockets half full of broken dreams". To quote MacIntyre on the topic for the song: "A capitalist society can ultimately breed George W Bush as President...".

The comes the massive "Death Of A Scientist (A Vision Of Man Over Machine, 2004)" ["Death O£ a Scienti$t" to be precise], which is, along with next track "Your Love, My Gain", sort of a half merged main track of the album. The long and multi-themed "Death Of..." almost glides into "Your Love, My Gain" which is a beautiful ballad. One of MHS's finest/saddest songs ever. Hey, there's more to come. I must not forget the sore "My Friend The Addict" (the title says it all), and the touching closing track "In The Next Life (A Requiem)" - the latter dedicated to MacIntyre's grandparents (inspired by the death of his grandmother last year). Still, despite some dark and paranoid times, hope stands out as the force for being cherished and feeling joy. As MacIntyre writes in the liner notes: "A thought in the shape of 2 questions that I'd initially had months ago in the Hebrides comes back to me now: I'm wondering if it is possible that I can ask these questions to the person sitting behind me on this 65 Greyhound bus that's weaving its way through upstate NY? These questions in some way capture what the whole album is about. Can I ask her: "Does hope have a cure?" And, "Should it be "This is Hope", or "This Is Hope?"."

It's a brilliant hat-trick by Colin MacIntyre!

Copyright © 2004 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Mull Historical Society article/review: Us.

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