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Man Alive

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Album Review

Man Alive, Eugene Kelly's first solo album since the demise of his group Eugenius, is a charming, low-key effort full of his trademark wit, humor, and songcraft. The bulk of the album is made up of chiming guitar pop tunes with sweet vocal harmonies that wouldn't sound out of place on a Teenage Fanclub record — just add Kelly's laconic vocals and world view. Indeed Kelly has learned much about the jangle from his fellow Scots. There is none of the grungy heaviness that often turned Eugenius songs into muddy filler. Now Kelly's songs are either light and tender ("I'll Be Yours," "Older, Faster") or rich and expansive ("Noise and Smoky Breath," "The Healing Power of Firewalking"). Either way they are refreshing and quite lovely. Equally as nice are the songs with a folky, acoustic feel like "Sinking Ship," "She Wears My Rings," and "Dear John" that betray a newfound maturity and the rocked-out tunes like "Ride the Dream Comet," "You're Having My Sex," and the cute, should-be-a-hit "I'm Done with Drugs." Taken together you have a fully rounded-out album that ought to make fans of Kelly — and of intelligent and fun guitar rock — glad the man has dragged himself back out on the tiles.


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

With his cult-favorite bands the Vaselines and Eugenius, Eugene Kelly joined compatriots like the Pastels, Teenage Fanclub, and BMX Bandits at the forefront of Scotland's indie pop renaissance. Born in Glasgow in 1965, Kelly formed the Edinburgh-based Vaselines in 1987 with fellow singer/guitarist Frances McKee, later adding Kelly's brother Charles on drums and James Seenan on bass. Soon signing to Pastels frontman Stephan Pastel's newly formed 53rd and 3rd label, the Vaselines' first-ever studio...
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Man Alive, Eugene Kelly
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