Mull Historical Society Us

On his stellar 2001 debut Loss, Mull main-man Colin MacIntyre wasn't inclined to repeat himself very often. On this full-length follow-up, however, repetition ad nauseam has become his default compositional tool of choice. It’s almost as if someone pulled him aside and told him his songs are too wordy and complex and threatened hellfire if he didn't do something about it. Meanwhile, it was that very sort of ambitious, knees-on-the-suitcase packing style that made his previous disc such a rich, bountiful affair — even if exactly seven other individuals on this side of the Atlantic took notice. Lyrically, Us comes off as a much less personal outing, too, as Mac opts time and time again for metaphors and word puzzles over the more sentimental sentiments of many of his songs of yore. Though not entirely bereft of hooks, the barbs aren’t nearly as sharp this time around. As such, Mac is in no danger of being accused of resting on his "Watching Xanadu” laurels. If he keeps hanging out in the mid-tempo middle of the road, though, that UK hit single is bound to be all he’s remembered for. The package features four additional CD-Rom tracks — outtakes that hearken back a little more to Mac’s drama-pop Bowie inclinations. Overall, the disc is still a worthwhile listen, especially for those not intimate with its predecessor. (Blanco Y Negro)