Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Brendan McMahon “About Joe”

Australian singer-songwriter Brendan McMahon has been rather busy as of late. In fact, in only a short amount of time, the musician has created a discography that encompasses two different personas- that of the band Satellite Gods and as himself. Together, the two different sides to McMahon have released four releases. The first album, entitled Falling to Earth was released under the Satellite Gods moniker back in 2015. A few months later, McMahon was back with a new 5-song EP that was released under his own name that he called Universalist. Now, only a few months after that release was put out, McMahon returns with yet another EP. The newest release from McMahon is entitled About Joe.   

The new five-song EP from Brendan McMahon begins with the song “Home”. Throughout the songs that have made up the three releases from McMahon, the songwriter has displayed a writing style that seems to incorporate many different influences. With the track of “Home,” one influence that comes through is that of Colin Hay, the former lead singer of the band Men at Work and a fellow Australian. The track seems to bring to mind the same musical direction found on a Hay-penned song like “Storm in My Heart”. The pop-rock track features a slow tempo and light delivery with just a hint of Celtic flavor to truly bring out the Colin Hay influence. The acoustic guitar that starts off the track is soon joined up with electric guitars that add texture while still keeping the slow pace of the track. The song starts off low-key with that acoustic guitar but ends on a strong note as the electric guitar brings the track to a close.

Many of the songs written by Brendan McMahon have some sort of basis in reality. The EP’s “title track” is just such a song. “Gentleman Joe” is one of the few moments when McMahon creates a track that is somewhat political. The track’s lyrics deal with the subject of hatred as McMahon responds to the fact that many Muslims are sadly grouped together with the more radical faction in the religion who want to cause harm to those who disagree with their views. The main focus of the song was a man who lived his life the best he could while being unfairly grouped with the more radical of the religion. The track’s music features a slow-paced feel as McMahon uses the light pace as a way of emphasizing the meaning behind the lyrics of the track.

Brendan McMahon picks up the pace of the music on the next track called “Fall Down”. The guitar-driven music of the track has a definite commercial feel to it. The song creates a rather timeless musical approach as the song would feel right at home on any current Top 40 radio format on today’s radio as well as formats from the last twenty years. “Fall Down” ends up being one of the standout tracks and one of the strongest songs on the About Joe release.   

The feel of the music changes just slightly on the next track. While the previous songs contain strong Pop-like approaches, “Alive” contains a stronger musical approach with a little more Rock influence to the Pop-Rock music. And much like “Gentleman Joe” from earlier in the release, McMahon creates a track that contains a rather strong message. And with that message comes a rather strong positive vibe. McMahon sings of ways that a person can experience what it feels like to exist, or to be “alive”. The various musical elements combine to create one of the most upbeat moments on the About Joe EP.

The About Joe release from Brendan McMahon comes to a close with the track “Doctor”.  One of the most thought-provoking songs from McMahon’s songwriting, “Doctor” is yet another track that contains a message. The lyrics of the song follow a man as he asks a doctor about his place in the world now that he has returned from war after losing limbs while on patrol in Afghanistan as part of the Aussie Armed Forces. The slow pace to the music adds to the dark nature of the music, adding a lot of emotional feeling to the track. The placement of “Doctor” after the song of “Alive” also adds to that emotional feeling. The track brings the EP to a close on a rather emotional note.

Throughout the last few years, Brendan McMahon has released a lot of music. And with each of the four releases that have been created by him, the listener gets to enjoy different sides to the songwriter’s personality as well as the various different musical influences that help shape the musician’s writing. And while the three releases McMahon has put out all have their own sounds, the About Joe release seems to be the most thought-provoking release by him thus far. The five tracks contained within the EP will make the listener stop and listen more than the two previous releases.


To hear some of the music from the About Joe release from Brendan McMahon, check out the EP’s title track of “Gentleman Joe”.

For more information, check out Brendan McMahon’s PR firm, Whiplash PR

To check out the About Joe EP, click on the album cover below: