Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Eugene McGuinness

When is an album not an album? Or rather, how many tracks does it take to push a mini-album up to a full album? The Early Learnings of Eugene McGuinness, the debut release from Eugene McGuinness (naturally) has 8 tracks, and it’s being classed as a mini-album. But all the Stooges classics had 8 or less songs, didn’t they? Oh well, never mind.

I was keen to check out the young Liverpudlian’s recorded output since catching him supporting Emmy the Great the other week. I was impressed by his flair and way with a pop tune, even though I was committing the cardinal gig-going sin and talking to my friend for a chunk of Eugene’s short set. So last week I went and bought the (mini) album (on Domino offshoot Double Six) and a fine piece of work it is too.

This is another record which rises above the overwhelming mass of singer-songwriter fayre out there at the moment. As I said, McGuinness does have a way with a tune, and in addition to the usual acoustic strummings, there is a bit of a Vaudevillian swagger. Maybe it’s the Wurlitzer accompanying him on a couple of tracks. He does the jaunty pop thing very well, with a wink in his eye as he races through the likes of High Score and Monsters Under the Bed, cramming as many eloquent words as he can into each line. But he can also turn his hand to the more downbeat, such as the acoustic Bold Street and reverb-heavy piano ballad Madeleine. He comes on a bit like a more lo-fi, less camp Rufus Wainwright, or a less bookish, more impish Jeremy Warmsley. It’s all good stuff, and maybe is best described using a line from Monsters Under the Bed – “how fan-fucking-tabulous it is”.

One more thing – if you buy the album from Rough Trade, there’s an extra four track bonus CD, which includes Myrtle Parade, a previous b-side and a demo version of High Scores, which just proves that when the extra instrumentation is stripped away, there really is a great tune at the heart of it. And of course, when added to the album, the extra CD gives us a total of 12 tracks, which in my book really does constitute a full album. That’s that settled then.

Download: Eugene McGuinness – High Scores
Download: Eugene McGuinness – Myrtle Parade


lism. said...

Thanks for this post! I caught Eugene supporting the Shins in Edinburgh last week, and was kicking myself for dashing off and forgetting to check the merch table. In London next week, I think a visit to Rough Trade might be in order...

The Daily Growl said...

Yes - a trip to the new RT shop is an essential part of every music fan's visit to London!

Wolfgang Bopp said...

Eugene plays in New Cross in London on Friday 7th September, straight after supporting Regina Spektor.

The Wolfgang Bopp presents;

Eugene Mcguinness(

My Sad Captains (

The Rebecas (
+ Wolf Gang Djs

Date: Friday 7th September
Doors: 8-12.15pm
Price: £4 on the door
Venue: The Montague Arms, 289 Queens Road, New Cross, SE15 2PA

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