Armed with a truly outstanding debut single, "Monsters Under the Bed," that recalls artists ranging from Odelay-era Beck to '80s U.K.
cult heroes the Television Personalities, Eugene McGuinness appeared rather out of nowhere in 2007, seeming like he might be the Damon Albarn of the current set of neo-Brit-popsters following in the wake of the Arctic Monkeys and Franz Ferdinand. Like Albarn, McGuinness is a singer and songwriter of varied tastes whose talents extend beyond what's currently fashionable, with an eye for mixing and matching unexpected influences (in an early interview, he claimed to be equally enamored of Broadway master Stephen Sondheim and U.K. grime star Dizzee Rascal, and elements of both appear in his music) into a unique personal style. Born in 1985 in London to Northern Irish parents and raised in Liverpool, McGuinness started writing songs in his mid-teens. By the age of 20, McGuinness was signed to the publishing arm of the hottest British indie label of the time, Domino Records. In early 2007, Domino formed a special subsidiary label, Double Six Records, to release McGuinness' debut single, a nervy, synth-driven ode to information overload and insomnia. A BBC Radio 1 session followed in the spring after the single's immediate success, and an eight-track mini-album, The Early Learnings of Eugene McGuinness, was released by Double Six in the summer. McGuinness' eponymous sophomore effort arrived the following year. Glue, a collaboration with Eugene's brother Dominic McGuinness, was released under the moniker Eugene and the Lizards in 2009. It was followed in 2012 by McGuinness' third studio outing, The Invitation to the Voyage, and in 2014 by Chroma. ~ Stewart Mason, Rovi