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Mull Historical Society

After fronting a series of bands with names like Trax, Lovesick Zombies, 7-11, and Smells Like Marzipan back home on the west coast of Scotland and in his adopted hometown of Glasgow, singer-songwriter Colin MacIntyre finally founded Mull Historical Society in early 2000 with bassist and longtime friend Alan Malloy, borrowing the name from a real organization on the island of Mull near his home. The duo promptly set to work recording MacIntyre's backlog of nearly 300 songs, recruiting drummer Tony Soave and keyboardist Colin "Sheepy" MacPherson to assist them in the task. Mull Historical Society immediately dazzled the UK press with a debut single, "Barcode Bypass," which NME named Debut Single of the Year.

While one must take the British music press's grand proclamations with a grain of salt, given that they seem to christen every up-and-coming band as the next big thing, it's easy to see why they got excited about these Mull boys. The quartet fits neatly into the ever-growing British acoustic pop movement without falling prey to the weighty dreariness that seems to afflict some of those bands. No, without a doubt, MHS emphasizes the pop part of the equation, churning out one golden melody after another while sprucing up each number with compelling, polished arrangements that often feature such surprising instrumentation as a brass section, a xylophone, a harpsichord, a children's choir, and a bevy of cheesy '80s synth effects. MacIntyre's watery tenor serves as a terrific mouthpiece for the group's sound.

While the eleven tracks that populate the group's 2001 debut LP, Loss, occasionally suffer from a feeling of sameness, their lush sunniness is so engaging, it's hard to mind. As MHS continues to develop and expand their approach in the future, they're bound to top this fine album many times over.

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