By Jack Foley
Historical Society, otherwise known as singer/songwriter Colin MacIntyre,
is to follow up the huge acclaim that greeted his Loss debut last year,
with a new Blanco/WEA album, entitled Us, on March 3.
Recorded in Scotland earlier this year, all 14 songs are MacIntyre compositions/productions; and tracks include the first single - set for release on February 18 release - The Final Arrears, which is already getting airplay on both XfM and Radio 1.
Other tracks to look forward to for fans include Am I Wrong, The Supermarket Strikes Back, Don't Take Your Love Away From Me, Gravity, Asylum and Clones.
Mull Historical Society will also be out on tour in March and April, with a London date confirmed for Shepherd's Bush Empire on April 3.
Loss emerged in the autumn of 2001 to universal acclaim, and went on to sell upwards of 100,000 copies in the UK.
The album featured extensively in that year's 'best of' polls and delivered a clutch of classic singles such as Watching Xanadu and the debut, Bar Code Bypass.
About Mull Historical Society
Colin McIntyre is Mull Historical Society. He writes their songs, sings their vocals, plays their instruments and produces their records. He even designs the sleeves. Heck, the only part of the band he didn't create is its name. But on July 3 2002, in the midst of recording their ace second album, he finally met the people who did.
Even though Colin hasn't lived on the beautiful Scottish isle of Mull for years (he recently moved from Glasgow to London), with a population of just 2,500, the chances of bumping into those responsible for his band's name on one of his visits back were always high.
And sure enough, as he stood up to deliver the speech he'd been asked to give at his old school's presentation day that July afternoon, Colin was told that several members of the real Mull Historical Society were in the audience.
"I've never been more nervous than standing in front of the school doing that speech," he admits. "And to find out some of the real Society members were there made it even worse. I actually thought I'd pissed myself with nerves. The first thing I did was to apologise to them for two years of focus they could have done without."
He probably needn't have bothered. After all, Colin's decision to borrow the Society's name for his band has surely made them the UK's most famous local history group. They've seen their organisation namechecked everywhere from CD:UK and the Top 40 singles chart to The Face and The Daily Telegraph.
Marrying the experimental instincts and rich instrumentation of the Beta Band and Flaming Lips with the belting pop sensibility of The Beatles and The Las, debut album, Loss, attracted huge critical acclaim and sold 200 copies. A further hat-trick of belting singles (I Tried, Animal Cannabus and the Top 40 hit Watching Xanadu) led to a series of inflatable sheep-infested gigs, and saw Colin and his live bandmates emerge from supporting The Strokes on their toilet venue debut UK tour to headlining a packed Shepherds Bush Empire.
The stage was set for album number two and, early last year Colin - a prolific tunesmith since his childhood - went back to the studio with countless songs to work on. Ninety-five recording days later, he emerged with Us, an album laden with Colin's trademark tales.
The album is said to mark an obvious progression for Colin, who comments: "I think I've stripped things down I've still tried to use different instruments and to really push myself, but it's more concise this time.
"When I was recording it, some of the songs had 90 separate tracks on them, but when I was mixing it I was much more brutal than with 'Loss'. I took away so much stuff that I'd added. Y'know, sometimes you don't need keyboard zaps.' Instead the songs have been given room to stand up for themselves.
'Us is also a more overtly personal record than 'Loss'. On the first album, I tried to relay a lot of my thoughts and emotions through characters,' admits Colin, 'but there's less of that on 'Us'. It is a lot more about me.'
Not surprisingly, Colin is incredibly pleased with the album.
"I loved recording it," he says. "I felt really confident with the songs I had to choose from. In fact, in the studio there'd be times I was actually hurting because of how many songs I was trying to deal with. But the 14 that became 'Us' just rose to the top."