Eugene McGuinness

On lead single Moscow State Circus, newbie singer/songwriter Eugene McGuinness is 'tumbling down a rabbit hole'. Let's pretend he's taking the listener with him; if that's the case, then this Wonderland is one where Cole Porter shares tea with the Pixies.

The 22-year-old Irish/Liverpudlian impressed last year with a well-received EP but no-one could have predicted the wild mixture of styles here. He could get the indie kids on his side with the snappy fork-tongued scuffle of Nightshift. Single-in-waiting Fonz, with all its talk of crotches meeting on the other side of the world (kids today, eh?), sounds like a jaunty Interpol given a kick in the shin by, well, the Shins.

McGuinness sounds like a less tortured Paul Banks elsewhere on the record but there are a few tracks that showcase a love for old crooners. Wendy Wonders and God In Space are both out of time with their old-fashioned melodies and vocal style but it's on the 30s-style balladry of Those Old Black and White Movies Were True where things go proper Goodnight Sweetheart.

In between the ramshackle and the charmingly archaic, impeccably crafted pop moments such as Atlas and Crown the Clown suggest McGuinness's future lies as a British Ben Folds. Whether the constant genre-hopping will delight or frustrate you depends on whether you rate cohesiveness highly. Despite being a bumpy ride though, it's thoroughly enjoyable and puts McGuinness in the same fold as young talents like Jeremy Warmsley and Dev Hynes.



out of 10
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