10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 11 July 2004
This is hope is awesome. Definitely album of the year so far, and it would take something really magical to top it. The first track is called "Peculiar", and it's different, but superb, and a great opener, sort of a melody that you wouldn't think of, but it works.
Obviously we've all heard "How bout I love you more", the catchy first single. Then Colin takes on a very Scottish sound for the next two tracks, "Treescavengers" and "This is the hebrides", so fans of early Snow Patrol, Astrid and Reindeer Section would be happy. "Tobermory Zoo" is a belter, and he incorporated some of it (Come on and join up if you can), into the MHS song on tour last year, and it's upbeat. It sounds a bit Coralish to start off with, but wipes the floor with anything they've done.
The peice de resistance are tracks 7, 8 and 9. "Death of a Scienti$t (Vision of man over machine 2004)" is a grandiose track, an epic. The drumming is excellent, and it goes up and down a lot. Colin opens up his heart on this, and the next, "Your love, my gain". It's a slower number, but really beautiful. It's got a brilliant lyric, (Your love, your love, my gain again). Track 9 should definitely be the second single. It's Colin's most poppy song to date, and is called "Casanova (at the weekend)". It's perhaps the best pop song Mull have done, and makes you want to get up and dance.
Next come "My friend the addict", and "Len", which is one of my favourite Mull songs lyrically, superb. The last track is a fabulous and dramatic closer. "In the next life(a requiem)" is really all about hope, and brings the album together wonderfully.
You'll not be disappointed, it's fantastic.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 4 April 2005
This is Hope carry's on from Loss and Us, and certainly keeps up Colin MacIntyre's rich vein of form.
Peculiar gets the album of to an upbeat start, and draws parallels with earlier releases such as Watching Xanadu. How Bout I Love You More, the first (and currently only) song lifted from the album, keeps up this tempo, and is a great sing-a-long moment to live concerts.
Treescavengers, slows the pace down, with it's piano driven intro slightly reminiscent of Coldplay. This is the Hebrides, obviously influenced by MacIntyres recent jaunts to America, is mainly acoustic based, but is a real highlight of this album, and really grows on you.
Tobermory Zoo is a slice of the quirky pop Mull Historical Society are so apt at producing. Again, it has hidden qualities, which really shine when played live. You can't help but sing along here. Conversely, Death of a Scientist is a slower, stop start number, and is as close to an epic as Mull Historical Society have produced thus far.
Based around a third person narrative of the death of Dr David Kelly (Uk Weapons expert, who comitted suicide during the Iraq war scandal), this is as lyrically brilliant a song as I've ever heard from Mr MacIntyre. Your Love My Gain is a lush, piano fed ballad. A real chill out song. Really pays testiment to how Colin MacIntyres song writing has matured. This is simply brilliant.
Casanova at the Weekend is next. This one has future single written all over it, My god it's good. Apparently it deals with human cloning. Really? I'd never have guessed unless I hadn't heard it from Colin himself. Turn this one up, and watch as even the most placid of listeners will begin to dance around the room and sing along. My absolute favourite from this stonking album!
My Friend the Addict appears over the horizon next, and actually takes the listener by surprise. One of the slower numbers from the album. Not that it's out of place.
Len is the penultimate track. And is a fairly mid-tempo slice of pop dealing with a fairly serious issue. Not that you'd really notice it. The chorus is excellent.
On to the last track, In The Next Life (A Requiem). I'm not sure really where to start with this one. It never really did much for me, untill I listened to it through the earphones on my iriver. God, there is so much you don't hear. Gospel singers, a conversation about Hitler, an appearence by Colins Granny.
Give this one time. It's not instantanious like Casanova at the Weekend, but hey, it really does get there. It's a bit stop/starty, like Death of a Scientist. Colins voice really shines through here. Such beatiful, personal lyrics. Stunning.
It's such a pity that this album didn't recieve the airplay or publicity it really does richly deserve. I can only hope it gets the praise it so richly deserves.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Loss, Mull Historical Society's first album, was and still is a great record - full of quirky, melodic pop and intelligent, witty lyrics. It held out a great deal of promise and made a statement - that this was what pop music was capable of if people would only have a bit of ambition for it.
Sadly, Colin Macintyre's follow-up was less but the same, never once scaling the heights of his debut and suggesting MHS would be a one-album wonder. So it was with a certain amount of trepidation that I purchased This is Hope - and I am both surprised and delighted to be able to report it is excellent, a real contender for album of the year alongside artists like The Streets - although musically a long way away.
Basically, the album is an intro and 11 perfectly crafted but quirky pop-songs. Macintyre's musical ear means instrumentation is always interesting without damaging the melodic structure and the album retains the listener's attention even when in it's (few) moments of mediocrity as a result of this. So to the songs themselves:
PECULIAR - a little gem of a pop-song that alternates between Squeeze style smoothness and XTC spike.
HOW 'BOUT I LOVE YOU MORE - the first single and ironically the weakest track on the album. OK mid-tempo pop.
TREESCAVENGERS - The first slow song and one of a handful deeply reminiscent of tracks like Barcode Bypass and Strangeways on the debut album. Complex multi-layered pop.
THIS IS THE HEBRIDES - Lyrically the most savage track on the album, this is another complex mid-tempo number.
TOBERMORY ZOO - The title sounds like it should be a kid's tv show and the song almost sounds like it could be the theme tune. Jaunty, bouncing pop just the right side of simple with a great coda. Great fun.
DEATH OF A SCIENTIST - The centre piece of the album. Alternatively rising and falling in volume and building to another great coda. Dark pop power balladry - not something you hear much of today with some great prog keyboards.
YOUR LOVE, MY GAIN - Another ballad, piano based this time. Perhaps positioned wrongly on the album but a pretty song nonetheless.
CASANOVA AT THE WEEKEND - Another song that could have been on the first album. Reminiscent of Animal Cannabus, this is a jaunty pop song that also sounds a bit like the Divine Comedy circa - funnily enough - Casanova.
MY FRIEND THE ADDICT - Another dark ballad.
LEN - Great 60s influenced pop song, with Memphis style strings.
IN THE NEXT LIFE - Funnily, this reminds me of The Streets in that at first it appears so childlike and naive in its construction you wonder how a professional artist had the temerity to record it. By the end, as the music layers build and the song morphs into something quite different, you realise it's genius and it was only your own pre-conceptions that caused the initial discontent. BTW if anyone has Mike Oldfield's Amarok, the Colin MacIntyre's Gran talking on the end of this track is as well placed and as appropriate here as the Margaret Thatcher impersonation talkover at the end of that record.
Overall - a fantastic pop record, full of contrasts between light and dark, jaunty and sad and simplicity and complexity - ambitious, interesting and intriguing, and one of my records of the year. Buy it!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 23 November 2004
Colin Macintyre is coming close to being a Noughties Dylan, with this his third album in three years.
Mixing his trademarks of rich instrumentation and fragile vocals with bittersweet,intelligent lyrics to create a masterpiece. The contempary concerns of modern living resonate through the thirteen tracks here with no filler and very little pomposity(unlike Coldplay,Dido,David Gray).
Few people would regret buying this scottish gem, some american influences are welcome strangely and create a wider world view under the scottish cover and veneer.
Released back in the summer this seems to be a perfect winter record..something to play by the fire...as the minor chords luure you into another place...!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 5 October 2004
Following on from 'Loss' and 'Us' was always going to be hard, and perhaps unsurprisingly 'This Is Hope' is not quite up there. However, this being Mull Historical Society, this album is still excellent.
'How 'Bout I Love You More' is a typical MHS song, like 'The Final Arrears' or 'Watching Xanadu' with its catchy chorus and upbeat tempo. As usual this song has more to it than its breezy sound with thoughtful and quirky lyrics. The rest of the album, although retaining the unique MHS sound, is something new. For one thing, Colin McIntyre has gone political!
'This Is The Hebrides' is, I feel, the album's weak point. It is anti-Bush, which is fair enought (freedom of speech etc.), but the lyrics are so unsubtle they make me cringe.
Despite this low, there are some great songs such as the beautiful 'Death Of A Scientist' (this one's a grower) and the quick-paced 'Casanova At The Weekend'.
If you're already a fan, definitely buy this. If, however, you've heard MHS are good but don't have one of their albums, but 'Loss' and 'Us' instead. THEN buy 'This Is Hope'.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
There are songs, on some albums, that once I hear them on the stereo, I rush to find my portable CD player and my headphones to listen to them, because I just feel I have to listen to them carefully. The last song on this album -- In The Next Life (Requiem) -- is one of those songs. Although I think this album is not worse nor better than the previous two (a compliment, by the way), this song definitely surpasses anything Mull Historical Society have done before.
I also urge you to buy this album and not download it or burn yourself a copy, if you like it. It is important to have Mull Historical Society around. This is pop as pop should be, and not the artificial rubbish you mostly hear if you ever bother turning on the radio or the telly. This is intelligent pop, which doesn't ridicule its listeners, and whose intentions are not only the final sum of money it makes. It will be a poetic justice if this album sells lots of copies, after Colin's previous record company dropped him.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 26 July 2004
This album is my album of the year. A great album yet again from the mull historical society as there is a more experimental side to this one but still great pop songs like Perculiar, How bout I love you more and the Hebrides. Also the album finishes with a great song called In the next life (a requem). Lets hope this isn't the requem of the Mull Historical society and look forward to many more albums.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 8 July 2004
This third album from MHS exhibits all of singer/writer/instrumentalist Colin MacIntyre's established strengths - the awkwardly beautiful melodies and restless, unexpected arrangements; the poignant stories and intriguing characters in his lyrics, which are literate but never self-conscious. The great joy of 'This is Hope' is that these qualities are combined with a richer, more confident sound, which give it a new accessibility without compromising any of the things we've previously loved about MacIntyre. Needless to say, the already-released first single, 'How Bout I Love You More' is the weakest tune on the record, but that's not saying much, because the rest is so strong. Highlights include the edgy 'This is the Hebrides', the insanely catchy 'Peculiar' and gorgeously reflective 'Len'. An excellent record.
on 14 June 2012
The comparison with Lyndsey is a valid one. Both have high sounding vocals, melodic songs, and an inch of experimentation. 'This Is Hope', is for any one like me who bemoans the lack of good decent melodies and strong lyrics which don't have to refer to the fact that the singer has a big package or would love to shove their 'booty' in your face if you put a ring on her finger, or something...but I digress. Nice album, not one of Colin's best but it'll be well worth your money to buy it if you've enjoyed his others.
on 7 October 2013
I wish I had listened to this music years ago. Brilliant CD. Quite a few catchy tunes that just have you singing along.