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4.0 out of 5 stars
21
4.0 out of 5 stars
Us
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 10 March 2003
This is a good record, mid-paced throughout and more melancholy than 'Loss', and Colin MacIntyre is a strong songwriter in a similar mould to Andy Partridge, or maybe even a Scottish Ben Folds. Best songs here are The Final Arrears, Don't Take Your Love Away From Me, and The Supermarket Strikes Back (a reply to 'Barcode Bypass' from the debut album) Comparisons with The Beach Boys are lazy, and this is no Pet Sounds, its closer in essence to the singer/songwriter world of the 70s, like a less pompous David Gray with a sense of humour.
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on 18 September 2006
Colin McIntyre is a happy fellow. You can just tell from his face, voice and lyrics that even the saddest, most poignant moments of life fill him with a simple wonder and joy. This is audible in his music so much that it often overtakes from the melodies and actual songsmanship.

Having said that, there is no lack of either - Us is a great follow up to the virtually perfect Loss. The joyful, brash opener of Am I wrong vies with Annimal Cannabus in its sheer punch-the-air urgency; Asylum is a lyrical love song with a peculiar take on insanity; 5 More Minutes, on the other hand is matched only by the Manic's Ocean Spray as desperately sad parent-loss songs. The high point, however, is the sequel to Loss's Barcode Bypass, The Supermarket Strikes Back. It is knowingly a sequel (hence the Star Wars-esque title) with its sampled vocals at the start and its same lyrical bent, and yet where Barcode... was sad and lazy, Supermarket... is fast, bouncy and poignant, as the Supermarket owner realises that he, too, must "pick up your gloves and walk your dogs", now that the unfortunate shopkeeper is dead and gone.

A poignant minor classic.
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on 30 April 2003
Mull Historical Society (aka Colin Mcintentyre) came on the scene in 2000 amid critical aclaim with his debut album "Loss". Now 3 years later he has a new album "Us". So how does it compare to the previous album?
You'll be happy to know there's no sophomore slump here. While Loss was an album full of potential it suffered several shortcomings. One in particular was Colin's luddite obsession with fighting everyting modern. On picking up the album Us, tracks with sames such as "Asylum", "Live like the automatics", "Minister for Genetics & Insurance MP", "The supermarket strikes back" and "Clones" may suggest to you that he has gone totally overboard with his new album. However the opposite is true. The songs on "Us" bear no reference to political climate and are in fact personal introspective songs. As he says on "Live like the automatics" - "Fighting society never did much for me".
Track by track what to expect:
1. The Final Arrears. This was the debut single from the album and bears the same style as the songs "Watching Xanadu" and "Animal Cannibus" from Loss. Nothing particularly new here, just the usual high quality instrumental arrangement and catchy tune.
2. Am I Wrong. The next single to be released from the album. Another solid song, a bit too similar to previous efforts though.
3. Oh Mother - as you can guess from the name, one of the more personal songs from the album.
4. Asylum - No reference to refugees or anything here. One of my favourite songs from the album, has a warm fuzzy feel to it. Favourite line : "so please sit on the sunny side of me".
5. Live Like the automatics - upbeat number, finishing with the repeated couplet - "we look over our shoulder and the sunlight never grows older". A song I find myself singing in the shower.
6. Don't take your love away from me - mellow ballad to follow on from the previous song.
7. Minister for genetics and insurance mp. Don't ask me what the metaphor is, am still trying to figure it out. In any case this song has a very catchy chorus and is another one I find myself singing in the shower.
8. 5 more minutes - Dedicated to his recently deceased father. Very simple effective song.
9. Gravity - love this one, upbeat and racy. Seems to be directed to an ex-girlfriend of sorts. Colin lets us peak behind the squeaky clean image a little.
10. Can - another mellow number to follow the upbeat tempo of Gravity.
11. The supermarket strikes back - The follow-up to "Barcode Bypass" on "Loss". Very catchy, is also the song where he seems to reveal a dependance on prescription drugs.
12. Clones - another catchy number. Contains the great line "Queen of the scene, I knew then what could be". Hmmm, are you trying to tell us something Colin?
13. Her Is You - very short number with a catchy beat (which may be taken from another song, not sure).
14. Us. A bit of a low point to end the album with. A solid song but nothing particulary sparkling.
In short, a worthy successor to a particular good debut. If you're looking for an album different to the usual crop of generic music out there, this one is the one to go to. Keeps hardcore music lovers happy, and contains enough catchy songs to keep pop-lovers happy too :-)
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on 13 April 2003
When I first put this into my player, I turned it off after the third listen, and then dug out my NME and looked at it suspiciously. I know they're prone to hyping every band that can put two chords together, put surely, I thought, they've gone too far this time. "Planet surfing melodies?" I whispered in disbelief. "Out of this galaxy?" This has got to be THE most annoying, overrated album, with possible exception to Highly Evolved, ever made!
About ten listens later, I'm more than ready to eat my words. Am I Wrong? Yes. MHS have a great album here; it just gets better with every listen. With each play you hear a bit more of the breath-taking depth of this album, and you learn to love it that bit more. Be warned, however; Us is a monumental grower. Do not expect to hear Colin Macintyre's brilliance on the first listen. In fact, you will most probably cringe at his slightly nasal vocals, and ask yourself how any band can expect to get off the ground with a voice as grating as that leading it. However, the small-island-man's vocal chords are just another example of the extraordinary grower quality of the album; keep listening and it begins to blend perfectly with his band's take on lush psychedelia.
Problems? Us is perhaps a bit too long. If Macintyre had cut out some of the slightly average songs, like "Clones" and "Five More Minutes", it would have made for a far more snappy and trimmed offering. MHS also have a tendency to be heavy-handed with their quirkiness on a couple of the tracks. I wouldn't call this showiness; it seems Macintyre is over-eager to prove something. The title track would be a beautiful Aqualung-esque moment, but is distracted by the unneccessary plonky beginning and the weird shouted ending.
All in all, a rousing, earnest and often heart-wrenching album. Don't make the mistake I did; listen to it a couple of times before making your mind up.
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on 25 March 2003
Well after seeing Mull Historical Society in a local music store it inspired me to purchase this album. It is a great album in my opinion though I do not own Loss and will deffinately be buying it soon. Songs worth a look on the album are: The Final Arrears, Am I Wrong, Asylum, Dont Take Your Love Away From Me and also 5 More Minutes. This is a GREAT album and well worth the money.
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on 10 February 2014
Oh, Colin MacIntyre. What are we going to do with you? You resolutely make the most awkward, tuneful, delicious, uncomfortable music I have heard in long time and I hope you never stop. I sometimes feel like these songs directly channel 70's pop radio in such a way that I can't get the melodies out of my head for days afterwards. It's a good thing these are lush and beautiful melodies, that's all I can say. Colin is still in here using beer kegs, shipping forecasts and the kitchen sink to make wistful, rolling, acerbic songs about love, madness and yeah...loss. This one is my fave Mull disc so far. The Water (made as Colin MacIntyre) is my second favourite. It holds together well when played as an entire album. A rarity these days. Enjoy!
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on 4 March 2003
Mull Historical Society, aka singer-songwriter-everything else Colin MacIntye return for their second album, the follow up to the much acclaimed ‘Loss’. As with the first album, the jingling keyboards, loose riffs and elaborate feel remains the same, although on first listen the songs don’t hit you as much as the debut. Being a fan of the band can be hard work sometimes, this album is 14 tracks, with 4 extra on the CD to play on your computer, there is no doubting MacIntyre’s imagination or ability but for a first time listener this would seem to drag. The world of MHS is a strange one, full of sheep and supermarkets battling it out with small grocers, but certainly an intriguing one even if it’s not to everyone’s taste. On second/third listen, on loud speakers in a dark room it all starts to make sense, certain tracks start to stand out (‘Can’ and ‘Am I Wrong’ in particular) and by the time we get to track eleven ‘The Supermarket Strikes Back’ it’s actually starts to get enjoyable. Loyalty is needed with this one, by the time you’ve played the album through four or five times there’s a good chance you’ll be hooked, it’s a completely new magical world. Colin MacIntyre has the knack of turning every track into a dramatic semi-masterpiece, which on every track can feel a bit repetitive, but in a world where every new band seems to think being simple is the way forward, this feels refreshing and deserves your attention.
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on 5 March 2003
Wow what a refreshing change this album is !! its so different from a lot of the stuff currently in the album chart !!Colin MacIntyre has a lovely voice for this kind of acoustic music and he is not afraid to experiment with new sounds! its a feel good chill out kinda album !Every song has something nice and feel good about it and i think this will be on my cd player for a long time to come !! Buy this album you wont be disappointed !!
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on 5 March 2003
After the Wonderful tune-laden-fest that was "Loss" the Mull Historical Society bring us their 2nd full length album "Us" which I am delighted to say is probably better than the debut. This time around the album seems to be more introspective and has less quirky sound effects that was littered around in "Loss" which seems to have worked to its benefit. Beware though that this album is less immediate than its predecessor but after a few listens it will have you hooked for life. Sheer Brilliance!!
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on 4 March 2003
After the delights of 'Loss' with it's innocent, often melencholic and childlike delivery, I was expecting something similar from 'Us'. The opening track, 'The Final Arrears" is an uplifting and haunting tune, the likes of which would have been totally at home as a Ray Davies "Kinks" classic - a "Days" for the twenty first century almost. However, with Colin MacIntyre's voice fairly low in the mix throughout most of the album, and a technical polish which leaves the vast array of real instruments sounding synthethetic, then overall there isn't sufficient space to let the quirky and beautiful delivery so evident in the first album surface - though undoubtably it's in there somewhere. The shipping forcasts and some very unorthodox chord sequences sit alongside bonus (hidden) tracks of sheep'n'drums!, not to mention some wonderfully "Polyphonic Spree' instrumentation - but as I think MacIntyre once alluded, the 'prettiness' of "loss" has given way to the more uniform and mature sounds of "Us". I for one hope that Colin takes a step back after this project and reflects on the direction he is moving in - as given a different production values within the tracks themeselves something quite brilliant could have emerged - rather than the corporate 'processed' identity which seems to coat this album.
This album does grow with repeated listening (ive only played it twice I must confess!), the afore mentioned "The Final Arrears' being one of those tracks that just fixes itself in your mind from the first listening - and 5 stars will be on offer from this reviewer as Colin's one man stand against the sameness of popular music in general needs recognition................once the 'if only MHS had done it this way....' feeling subsides. MHS - please retain that 'small island' quirkiness that sets you way apart from the rest of the crowd - but still a magnificent second album none the less.
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