27 September 2012

Eugene Twist - The Boy Who Had Everything

Eugene Twist - The Boy Who Had Everyting (Tough Act Records)

A debut album by a singer/songwriter might not be something that gets the blood flowing these days. Music seems to be awash with many such people hoping a Radio 1 playlist or an Olympic ceremony might be a boon to record sales. What the Olly Murs and Ed Sheeran's of this world can do though is hide artists who are self-releasing or who have deals with smaller independent labels. It's harder to be heard amongst the big boys. One such artist that deserves to be heard is 25-year old Glaswegian Eugene Twist. A multi-instrumentalist, he also self produced his debut album and in all honesty, it's rather good.

Opening track 'If There's Love Where I'm Going' opens with brass before settling into a nice rhythm. The bass guitar sounds really good, but the most striking thing is Eugene Twist's voice. It's not your run of the mill singer/songwriter's voice. This reminded me more of something pitched between Joe Jackson and Elvis Costello. There's a maturity to his voice and also the music that immediately elevates it above the aforementioned pop behemoths. 'It's Down To You' slows the tempo down a little and hints at a little Americana influence perhaps. The rhythm section is again excellent and at times if feels like you're hearing something Wilco would be proud of. The vocal has a hint of fragility to it. A keyboard adds another dimension as it shimmers away and occasionally the music draws back a little allowing the vocal to shine.

The title track of the album has some interesting production on it. Beginning with the crackle of a record and a haunting piano, the vocal sounds like it's coming from afar. The tempo is slow and the dominating sound is the lead guitar. The vocal comes to the fore as the song progresses and the keyboard and rhythm section are again key elements. 'Tough Act To Follow' soudns a bit more stripped back that the previous tracks. A bass note drones underneath while above there are more subtle keys and guitar. Vocally there seems to be more room to breathe before the rhythm section kicks in and the song takes on a fuller sound. The tempo is good and throughout there are some great guitar moments, while the flashes of keyboard provide some bright moments.

If there was a hint of Americana before, it's the turn of Folk to be referenced on 'Talk of Roses'. Notes are picked out on the guitar during the intro, accompanied by keyboard, which builds slowly. An electric guitar adds some teeth to the track, before the addition of percussion gives the song more texture. They way different layers are added slowly, building the song up in really enjoyable and towards the end that electric guitar is baring it's teeth. 'Gauguin'kicks off with a distant vocal and realy nice guitar line. With the addition of the bass, drums and keyboard the vocal becomes sharper and the song settles into a good tempo. It's a cracking song with special mention for the beautifully chiming guitar throughout. 

'Three Dear Words' has a good, upbeat feel to it. Keys are agan prominent and the bass guitar has a really nice hum to it. The guitar adds some colour and the song takes on an almost summery feel, which isn't too shabby given the way those nights are getting darker and darker. It's all builds to a crescendo before drifting off into the haze. Closing track 'Actress on a Matress' starts with a slow and deliberate guitar. There's a more contemplative, sad feeling to this song. There's a hint of strings which adds to the sombre mood. It's a mellow, thoughtful end to the album, with the vocal sounding almost resigned. It's just fantastic and is a wonderful end to a very good album. You'll keep reminding yourself that this is a debut album. Throughout the vocal is fantastic and displays a range and confidence that you may expect from someone on album number two or three. If this is what he can do on number one, then I cannot wait to hear more. This is eight beautifully crafted songs from a special talent we'll all hear a lot more from in the future.

Check it out for yourself below. You can also order the album from Eugene Twist's Bandcamp page or via his official website, which has an iTunes link.

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