This isn't the normal type of album I would buy and to honest I crept towards it with a feeling of trepidation but I'm happy to say I was pleasantly surprised.
The initial thing that strikes me is Eugene's excellent wordsmithing skills, to rhyme phases "Shakespearian sonnet" with "caked in vomit" shows Mr McGuiness obviously paid attention in his school English lessons. The EP contains some 9 songs some of which are chirpy and upbeat such as "A girl whom my eyes shine for but my shoes run from" while some are melancholy and haunting such a "Vela". It is clear that Eugene is influenced by a wide range of influences, the baroque "High score" sounds like what Rufus Wainwright would produce should he ever decide to fall off the wagon and one could well imagine Jeff Buckley singing the "Vampire casino".
As for the music itself its experimental to say the least, cowbells, tribal drums and even the Super Mario Tune gets an outing on the album while McGuinness's seems to be singing through a megaphone on a few songs, giving his voice an unearthly sound.
The meaning of the songs is clear in some and ambiguous in others, you can read into the songs how you wish. I had a "soundtrack" moment with the song "Madeline" sitting on a coach at 8 am in the morning on a day with an absolutely glorious sunrise contemplating whether to just pack a bag and leave the town I live in, the song came on and I just had the thought "If there was a movie of my life, this song would play at this moment" even though the song has nothing to do with the situation I was in.
The album is like a dizzying merry go round of fantastical sounding chords and vocals and somehow quintessentially English in a wet Sunday kind of way. Its catchy and mysterious and a little bit unsettling and certainly deserves a place on your shelf. Given a bit of room to experiment McGuinness will become a talented and established musician, lets hope he gets the chance to do this.