Brendan McMahon – About Joe


Brendan McMahon – About Joe, is the new EP from this folk artist well known across his native Australia for his great voice that crosses over from Celtic folk, to pop, blues and country. He’s also a fine guitar picker which is tastefully understated but complimenting to his songwriting in every way. This is his third release and it comes with five outstanding tracks that are as diverse as they are threaded to the concept of world travelling he’s done. Out of it comes some of the most honest and integral songs the multi genres he spans can offer. Every song goes the distance to draw you in and keep your attention.

“Home” is a great opening cut, in fact it comes off as good as anything to be heard on About Joe, without dominating the way a lead off track can and usually does. The right tune was simply chosen to open with in this case. The song tells the story of late night reflections in China, longing for the comforts of home. You won’t be disappointed, you’ll be wanting to hear where things are going with the pleasant power-pop sounds of “Fall Down” which bubbles along quite nicely after the more serious opening ballad. Together, they both swing perfectly in sync, containing some fabulous melodies.

“Gentleman Joe” is next, which tells the life story of a man who could talk at a hundred miles an hour but doesn’t understand what’s happening today. And what a well-written song backed by some great musical passages and majestic vocals. It puts the icing on the cake so far, but there’s much more to get into on the following tracks. It’s just a lot to swallow thus far, and this song also contains some interesting vocal parts by McMahon himself that beg to be vastly heard. It’s a terrific number that outlives the EP, so it should be chosen as the one of, if not the lead single. It’s very heartfelt and mighty emotive.

Supremely following the title track is the droning effects of “Doctor” with its spooky bite and hypnotic charm. This is so good it will send a chill up your spine when you hear it, so there’s no need to spoil it by giving away its spotlight. This will shine its own light through your soul and win you over on its own merit. Not only does Brendan McMahon come alive on vocals here, but his guitar also catches some serious fire on this. The track contains everything that is good about this artist, as it keeps you hanging onto every note and every word. The baritone voice he starts out with, goes on to amazingly soar the tonal vernacular once the song picks up and takes off.

Everything comes to an end with a grace that makes you glad you heard Brendan McMahon. The acoustic sweeping of McMahon is soothing and healing after the previous display of guitars, so it takes the tempo up and down to and end the record with flying colors. This is just the right blend of tracks to make an EP one hundred percent with zero room for fillers. You get a perfect balance of what the music and lyrics have to offer, without going overboard about it, and it’s not something every EP brings to the table that way. You get more for the value when that happens, and this one is worth its weight in gold.

Elvin Graham