Live Reviews: Eugene McGuinness

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The Independent Culture

Of the relentless flux of singer songwriters, Eugene McGuinness stands out from the crowd. He may look pretty average: mop-top hair and collared dark shirt. And, like his peers, the everyday fashions the subject matter of his sharply observational story-like songs. But even when he sings about getting lost in Tesco, he is quite mesmerising.

On his debut mini-album The Early Learnings Of... released in August, pianos, guitars and psychedelic electronica bring shimmering pop melodies to life. Tonight the set it stripped back to basics; just McGuinness and hi acoustic guitar. From opening song "Myrtle Parade", his voice recalls Rufus Wainwright, and he coaxes smiles from the audience with his playful vocals.

"How much did you pay for the new Radiohead album?" he asks, then rattles through songs, cramming as many as possible into his allotted half hour. With so many gems, who can blame him?

But such a rush to impart his abundance of poetically clever lyrics and his songs are over too soon. Lines like "I'm a hollow man with twelve tin cans of woe" stan out, making him wiser than his 21 years. The upcoming single "Bold Street", saved for last, is a pure example of his songwriting talent.

Support slots with the Shins and Rilo Kiley already under his belt, it won't be long before McGuinness is topping the bill.