Caroline Sullivan 

Eugene McGuinness: The Invitation to the Voyage – review

London singer-songwriter McGuinness matches expansive retro pop with spiky, storytelling lyrics to lovely effect, writes Caroline Sullivan
  
  

This London singer-songwriter shares a label with the Last Shadow Puppets, a point that repeatedly comes to mind during his second album. Eugene McGuinness is equally in thrall to retro sounds – a bit of rockabilly, a shot of Merseybeat – and sings his love/frustration songs with a similar breathy ardour. It's manna for those who wish Alex Turner and Miles Kane would put out another record, but it's also attractive in its own right. McGuinness is a fan of the everything-including-the-kitchen-sink style of arrangement, but his songs wear the violins and xylophones lightly; moreover, he's of a spiky lyrical bent. On the atypically electronic Japanese Cars, he becomes an heiress's plaything, and moans: "Cocaine in the cubicle/ Should've kept it in my trousers", and the crunchy, new wave-inspired Thunderbolt has a storyline that skitters from "common assault" to the Ministry of Sound. Elsewhere he conflates Morrisseyish self-disgust ("Sitting on the ventriloquist's knee/ My disgraceful quest for immortality") and breakneck, reverb-drenched twang into a song aching to be used in the car-chase scene of the next no-budget Britflick. Lovely.

 

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