Hailing from Melbourne, Australia, singer-songwriter Brendan McMahon has a new EP, entitled About Joe. The five-track EP features pop, rock, country, Celtic, folk, and blues elements, along with McMahon’s distinctive voice.
McMahon’s songwriting steers clear of structure and regimen, depending more on nebulous inspiration.
“I find it fascinating how my songwriting comes so randomly to me,” he says. “Rarely do I say I’m going to sit down and write. Sometimes I dream them and wake up and feel like the song is still in my head. When I travel, I always take my miniature Maton guitar so I can respond whenever the muse hits me. Sometimes they start with a chord pattern, and sometimes, a song begins with the craziest images – like imagining the inner carriage of a train is saying, ‘rescue me…’.”
“Home” is the first track on About Joe. It opens with smooth, bright female voices that lead to acoustic guitar strums attended to by McMahon’s mellow voice. When the electric guitars and rhythm kick in, the tune assumes a polished SoCal soft rock flavor. The velvety vocal harmonies imbue the music with glossy colors and dimension.
“Fall Down” is a rock pop tune full of jangly Byrds-like guitars. A pulsing bass drives the rhythm, as McMahon’s silky tones stream overhead. The buoyant mood of the song is contagious. “Gentleman Joe” offers a melodious, measured rock pop flavor, with touches of a balladic, hymn-like aroma. Tender harmonics gather intensity on the chorus, yet retain their delicate sonic nuances. McMahon’s voice exudes warm timbres swelling to passionate tones.
“Doctor” oozes darker tones, as McMahon’s voice takes on a chanting inflection. Potent percussion injects the tune with urgency bordering on ominous. A wailing guitar solo, with a snarling edge, adds searing energy. “Alive” is my favorite song on the EP because of its lustrous glow and steady pulse of energy. There’s a brilliant harmonic dynamism to the tune, like gentrified SoCal country rock.
About Joe delivers tasty rock pop flavors, as well as Brendan McMahon’s smooth, powerful voice. The result is a luxurious listening experience.