You've gotta feel sorry for Colin MacIntyre. Not only did he suffer the pretty tragic loss of his father last year, but he also spends his days on a dark, cold, lonely little Scottish isle called Mull. On the bright side, though, he's just written one of the best albums of the 2001.
The Mull Historical Society (please tell me you know that it actually exists), is pretty much MacIntyre on his own, and he specialises in fantastically catchy acoustic pop songs. "Loss" is by no means a perfect album, but almost every song here leaves a lasting imprint on the music side of your brain. Which can't be bad. It's centrepiece, the hairs-on-back-off-neck-get-up-and-help me tell-everyone-else-about-this-song masterpiece "Barcode Bypass" doesn't overshadow everything else here. Which is a achievement in itself.
From the tinkly piano and jangly acoustic guitar opening of "Public Service Announcer" right through to the gentle, caressing lilt of closer "Paper Houses", the quality remains high. The stunning "Instead" is fantastic in the extreme, with it's heavenly but quite scary choirboys and simple yet massively appealing chorus. The Lloyd Cole recalling "This Is Not Who We Were", the epic former single "I Tried", the whistle while walking through the High Street "Animal Cannabus". It's a record full of standouts. A record full of simple, good old-fashioned songs.
Lyrically, MacIntrye has a touch of the Morrissey about him, but don't let that out you off. Each song here seems to have it's own story, it's own melodrama to accompany it. The plight of the corner shop perfectly crystallized in "Barcode Bypass", The rallying against "the posters we show, the clothes we wear, the roadside billboards" and all other modern trappings in "Paper Houses". But MacIntrye also has his sombre moments. "Oh, my father son games have gone to the ground" is a remarkably touching line from "Instead" when considering the death of MacIntyre’s father last year. "Only I know how hard I try to get nowhere" from "Only I" seems to unite us in frustration.
So, buy this record. Take it home. Play "Barcode Bypass" loud. Cry. Get some tissues. Then play again every day for the rest of your life. Clear?
8James Westfox's Score