james debate
james debate

Friday 21 November 2008

The music industry, as it so often is, is desperately in need of some fresh ideas. It is a constant blight upon music fans the world over that artists constantly stoop to record the same generic stuff over and over. Look at some of the recently popular albums that were considered good enough to go gold, britpop records from bands like the Pigeon Detectives, the Smiths, Oasis, all good bands to be sure, but all just playing fairly typical britpop, the likes of which we have been listening to for years.

Every so often someone does come along who tries something different, someone with a bit of a spark about him or her and a hint of the musical genius that so many artists these days lack. Earlier this year I wrote a piece about groups such as Stars, VHS or beta and Jim Noir whose excellent albums defied stereotype and came up with something truly memorable and different, and the stunning debut album from the Last Shadow Puppets is another example of this. And judging by the traffic that article received, as well as the impressive sales figures of those albums, it's safe to say that a lot of you agreed. Well now I have another one, this guy is a bit special.

Eugene McGuinness

Eugene McGuinness proves that British musicians don't have to sink into lame stereotype in order to make brilliant music. Anyone who has heard his first two albums will attest to their uniqueness, as fresh and original as anything that's been recorded in recent years, and this is no understatement. It even does a disservice to classify this man as 'one to watch' because when you get down to it, Eugene McGuinness is the finished article, and what a spectacular finished article it is.

There are two key words that come to mind when listening to Eugene's music. 'Eclectic' is one, selectively cherry picking a diverse collection of influences and sounds from the past 100 years and sticking them in a big melting pot until they form a coherent and cohesive pop song. 'Unpredictable' is another. Anyone older than fifteen years has already heard so many different songs down the years that it all begins to get a bit predictable, the same chord progressions and musical expressions, the same topics for lyrics. That is not the case here, with songs that will take you in wild and different directions that you will never see coming, and hitting melodies that you never imagined would work.

In particular there are two fantastic songs that need to be listened to.

The Monsters Under My Bed
This one sounds like a crazy dream, which is exactly the feeling it tries to evoke, achieving sublime melodies and fantastically idiosyncratic synth solos. Make sure you check out the music video on youtube.

Moscow State Circus
This song sounds like something from the 1930s with a serious hint of the Last Shadow Puppets and their retro stylings, expertly mingled with shades of classic britpop.

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