Eugene McGuinness Eugene McGuinness

Eugene McGuinness Eugene McGuinness
Eugene McGuinness is the latest in the long line of British songwriting wunderkinds. Like peers Patrick Wolf and Arctic Monkeys' Alex Turner, the 24-year-old is one ambitious lad, packing his idiosyncratic songcraft with twists, turns and a fair share of overachieving boundary-pushing. Still, McGuinness is very much a pop artist, just one that's slightly off-kilter. He's also one that likes to throw in a lot of variety, at least on his self-titled debut full-length. Songs range from straight-ahead second-wave Britpop ("Fonz") to wistful Tin Pan Alley balladeering ("Those Black and White Movies") to even piano-led cabaret pop ("Not So Academic"), the last of which finds McGuinness entering some very Rufus Wainwright-like territory. And while all the genre exercises don't exactly make for the smoothest listen, McGuinness manages to hold the album together with his bold and confident vocals, as well as some downright clever lyrical chops. Sure, it's not pure brilliance, or even entirely original, but you have to hand it to McGuinness - the kid's got charisma. (Domino)