Mull Historical Society - City Awakenings
City Awakenings is the sixth full album by Scottish indie-popper Colin MacIntyre, and the fourth using the pseudonym Mull Historical Society, writes Nick Bryan. Perhaps to try for a more mainstream audience, his last two records were released under his own name, and featured a noticeable scaling back of the try-hard quirkiness that peppered the MHS albums.
But, during the fan-funded recording process, MacIntyre decided this new record sounded like a proper Mull Historical Society work, and so here we are again. And although he isn't singing songs about supermarkets and political scandals, there's definitely more of the blaring, bounce-along music that we used to love him for.
Throughout, tracks like 'Can You Let Her Know' and 'For Bas, The Hague' (no, me neither) showcase his skill in juxtaposing thoughtful lyrics with bopping tunes, sitting comfortably alongside more ballady fare. Not as many as there were on the Colin MacIntyre albums, but they're still here and he's still very good at them.
First single, 'The Lights', is typical MacIntyre, repeating the same phrase over and over (“I like the lights, I like the lights, I LIKE THE LIGHTS!”), set to annoyingly catchy music, sandwiched between fun verses about childhood. The faster, louder track 'Honey Pie', is made all the more appealing because it’s hard to tell what it’s actually about. As ever, this matters little.
Overall, City Awakenings works as a fine showcase for his talents, perhaps running a little short, but if my main complaint is that it’s all over too soon, that’s hardly the worst possible outcome. This is the most listenable album that MacIntyre has produced since he last used the MHS moniker. Why not use this latest re-rebirth to give him another chance?