Parting sonic company with his lo-fi debut EP, McGuinness slips on his spats, runs a comb through his hair, and dramatically slides onstage a la Kramer from Seinfeld. Wide-eyed exuberance is tattooed all over the 22-year-old Liverpudlian’s self-titled album. Tracks jitter, toe-tap, bounce, jive, wiggle, shake, and swing, but they rarely sit still.
McGuinness uses the blueprint of -Bohemian Rhapsody’ to build climactic layers over what would have been an average, Beatles-eque lead single, -Moscow State Circus’, eventually teasing it into an spinning top. Album opener -Rings Around Rosa’ and its naughty counterpart -Nightshift’ roar up and down the dance-floor like gritty Grease lightning, while -Those Old Black And White Movies’ captures the crooning of the 1920s with cinematic flair and Neil Young style vocals. There are so many variations of McGuinness’ sound here that without his distinct cocktail of eccentric rockabilly and eclectic pop, you’d be forgiven for mistaking it for a collection of 1950s tunes given a millennium makeover.
Think Sondre Lerche, The Last Shadow Puppets (who guest here) and heaps of energy. While the album has multiple genre personalities, repeated listening smoothes mismatched edges. The question is: can you see McGuinness dancing in this Magic Eye picture or are you cross-eyed from staring at a blur? Either way, peel back the edgy, playful arrangements on this banana’s skin and a core group of solid, fairly old school pop songs rattle and roll.