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Album Review: Eugene McGuinness - The Invitation To The Voyage

3 October 2012 | 9:48 am | Bryget Chrisfield

McGuinness is a true star worthy of intergalactic accolades, and this album is a masterpiece.

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If you caught Miles Kane at last Falls Festival, or supporting Arctic Monkeys early this year, you would have seen this slick cat onstage in Kane's backing band modelling stylish threads and a sleek quiff to rival Alex Turner's. Whispers of, “Who's that guy?” could be heard in abundance. Bursting out with his own distinctively experimental material, McGuinness proves he's worthy of the company he keeps on The Invitation To The Voyage.

The Peter Gunn Theme sample-based Shotgun (also brilliantly used throughout Tricky's Murder Weapon) is the most commercial track on this album, so don't discount him based on that alone. Seeming more true to McGuinness's shtick are opener Harlequinade (with its instrumental swagger and raunchy strings) and Lion, which boasts opening lyrics that'll make you freeze in your tracks and then blush: “I'm sitting on the ventriloquist's knee/Allowing his hands somewhere they shouldn't be.” Closer inspection of McGuinness's lyric booklet reflects a cheeky soul who doesn't shy away from adult themes, particularly sex and drug references. Every single song's intro on this album is vastly different from what's come before and totally skews expectations. Case in point: Concrete Moon, which floats somewhat harmoniously though the set and then explodes into something robust and lush. The arrangements are so beautifully realised, with full orchestras and string sections constantly catching the listener by surprise but never jarring or drowning out main melodies. McGuinness is definitely a fan of unconventional key changes and vocal challenges (see: Joshua, during which sustained notes threaten to implode).  

McGuinness is a true star worthy of intergalactic accolades, and this album is a masterpiece. Accept his invitation for …The Voyage, it's fantastic. (McGuinness also does a cracking version of Lana Del Rey's Blue Jeans – check it.)