Mull Historical Society

Barcode Bypass

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The debut single from the Scottish duo Mull Historical Society was crowned "debut single of the year" by NME. Admittedly, there isn't much special about "Barcode Bypass" -- it's just a great tune, lasting seven minutes without hitting any particularly grand or overblown status. There are a couple nice shifts in tempo and easing passages, throwing subtle mallets into the mix here and adding a soft keyboard tone there. That could be a theremin toward the end, too. Like Grant Lee Phillips, Colin McIntyre's voice reaches falsetto so smoothly and gradually that it's easy to take it for granted. There's an abrupt end to the song; having set such a lazy mood, they could have extended it another couple of minutes without wearing out the welcome. The requisite "song named after the band" is the B-side, which sounds so much like the Pale Fountains that they go deep enough to incorporate a steel drum. As with the remainder of Tugboat's singles, only two songs are featured. While it's neat to bring back the spirit of the 7" single, those without turntables won't be too happy to plunk down the cash for the CD versions. Nonetheless, it's a fine start.

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