Mull Historical Society REVIEW -- Westend Festival Oran Mor Glasgow


An oscillating journey through nostalgia, hope, love & loss.’ Rave Child


Read full review in Rave Child

Next stop for MHS: tomorrow night (Sat 24th June) at The Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, Alloway

After catching a bit of evening sun in the beer garden, most of the crowd migrates back upstairs for Mull Historical Society in the Auditorium.

Colin MacIntyre sits atop a bar stool and holds out an hour’s set with just a guitar, that high and serenading voice and a riveting career’s worth of eccentric pop songs.

Channelling those alt-folk vibes while remaining grounded in the upbeat possibilities of stripped-back indie, MacIntyre brings his parochial charm to a filled-out room who remain more or less entirely under his spell for the whole set, an oscillating journey through nostalgia, hope, love and loss, carried more-or-less entirely by MacIntyre’s candid and impassioned vocals.

MacIntyre’s songs are angsty, certainly: ‘The Final Arrears’ is torn with indecision and those internal rhymes are only a haunting comfort among all the melancholy.

It’s like the suburban slacker-pop of Pavement transplanted to Scotland’s rugged west coast; except while the former might aimlessly circle their neon-drenched 7/11s, MacIntyre reaches out for a different kind of light at the end of the bay.

On the subject of home, Oban-raised author Alan Warner (who also spent a childhood travelling back and forth to Mull) writes of a ‘shallow and secret glen’, ‘this place that has come to declare itself within me when I define home’.

Between songs, MacIntyre admits that pretty much all his songs ‘seem to be about finding home’; like Warner his sense of home is defined by the solitary appreciation of a place whose memory takes on a certain misty-eyed mythology, a deep and personal significance, a longing that plays out through his wistful lyrics.

He keeps the audience hooked on stories about recording at Abbey Road studios, seeing the lights of cities (well, Oban!) for the first time as a child born in the Hebrides, appreciating the beauty of ugly buildings–which feels ironic in the context of the Auditorium’s breathtaking interiors and Alasdair Gray mural.

Highlights include Mull Historical Society classics like ‘Barcode Bypass’, ‘Watching Xanadu’, ‘The Lights’ and more recent single, the mellow and steadfast ‘Build Another Brick’.

I leave towards the end of MacIntyre’s set to catch some of Bloodlines’ manic, ear-splitting rock down in the Venue, which is at this point considerably less packed than the Auditorium.