Eugene McGuinness's debut mini-album was the sort of record you fell slowly in love with. Released on Domino imprint Double Six in 2007, 'The Early Learnings of.. ' captured the London-born musician's precocious talent for merging lyrical flair with some damned catchy songs. Indeed, the 23-year-old's witty musings on modern life and young love were like a cross between Alex Turner and Morrissey: his turn of phrase matched only by his ability to construct imaginative, utterly charming guitar-pop soundtracks.
Changes in the McGuinness camp come with this, his eponymous full-length record, though; for starters, it's a lot more hi-fi than his previous material. The kooky, ramshackle beats that informed 'The Early Learnings of..' are replaced here by a full band, who supply full-bodied harmonies and bulk up the sometimes-frail arrangements that McGuinness has a propensity towards.
Thankfully, he's lost none of his allure in the process, though. There's a broad palette of styles on display here: try the skirt-twirling, rockabilly shuffle of opener Rings Around Rosa, the rollicking, frantic pop beat of Nightshift, the disembodied, experimental quaver of Crown the Crown, or the simply gorgeous '30s-style crooning of Those Old Black and White Movies Were True.
And if that's not enough, there's still room to manoeuvre to the insanely catchy, rock 'n' roll cool of Fonz, McGuinness's oscillating warble cheekily emitting laugh-out-loud lyrics like "We said farewall and synchronised our watches / Arranged for the meeting of our crotches". We don't often see debut albums with this much charisma; treasure this one. It could be the start of a beautiful career.