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With his second album, Eugene McGuinness is starting to bloom as one of British pop’s most likeable oddball showmen. Where his early recordings’ bullishness felt slightly thin, the songs on ‘The Invitation…’ are meaty, resolute and compelling, largely thanks to a confidence in their own peculiarness.

‘Harlequinade’ sizzles with svelte ’80s style, all neat brass and polished disco homage, the Peter Gunn-sampling ‘Shotgun’ and lead single ‘Lion’ both swagger with an infectious rockabilly strut, and the title track is a charming ballad made deliciously curious with several unexpected musical left turns. Producer Dan Carey, responsible for Chairlift’s recent glorious album and Kylie’s ‘Slow’, sprinkles his now trademark 80s-pop glitter over the record’s all-too-brief ten tracks, and although the album suffers from a lack of shape (play it on shuffle and you won’t notice), McGuinness has enough personality to carry that off as consistency.

By Sam Walton

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