CD Review: Brendan McMahon “Universalist”

A little over a year ago, Brendan McMahon put out his last release, an album entitled Marker 7-58. This release was put out under the moniker of his band Satellite Gods. And while the album contains thirteen tracks, one song that is not included is a track called “Marker 7-58”. One year later, McMahon has included a track by that title in his new release that was put out under his name. Brendan McMahon’s new 5-song release is entitled Universalist.

Brendan McMahon from Brendan McMahon begins with that track entitled “Marker 7-58”. Written as an ode to a park reserve location on a parcel of land near where McMahon recorded his music, the song “Marker 7-58” describes one day in McMahon’s life as he enjoys the view on the top of the hill on the land. McMahon creates a song containing an easy pace to the music that matches the simplistic feel to the song. With the mandolin creating most of the musical sound for the song, the electric guitar on the track adds just a hint of power to the music. The lyrics are matched well with this gentle approach to the music on this track. Whether having been kept off the album that contained the same name was intentional or not, the track “Marker 7-58” is a gentle track that kicks off the Universalist release from Brendan McMahon on a strong note.

Brendan McMahon’s new 5-song EP Universalist continues with the track “Hotel Hemmingway”. The track takes the music of McMahon and picks up the energy level from the easier pace of “Marker 7-58”. The song features a straight-out Rock and Roll approach that is very reminiscent of either Van Morrison or Eric Burdon. In fact, the style of Rock and Roll found on the track “Hotel Hemmingway” would have easily fit right in on Burdon’s I Used to Be an Animal release from 1988.

While Brendan McMahon is Australian by birth, some of his music seems infused with a Celtic influence. In fact, some of his music could easily have been influenced by the rock music that exists in Ireland itself. The song “Fridays in December” is one song that seems to contain a rather large Celtic influence to its music. While not overly noticeable, “Fridays in December” contains a strong Celtic feel that gives the song an international feel that would have felt right at home on commercial Rock radio stations back in the eighties.

The new release from Brendan McMahon is currently being promoted with the single “Mother”. A slow-paced track that is built around the piano, “Mother” features mainly the piano and McMahon’s voice as he sings a love song of sorts to the woman who raised him and helped him become the man he is. With only the sound of the piano to help create the music of the track, the emotion in McMahon’s voice comes out as he sings the lyrics to the song. The minimalistic musical approach also helps to show off his ability as a songwriter.

Brendan McMahon’s latest release comes to an end with the track “Beat”. For the last track of his Universalist release, McMahon picks up the energy level in a big way. For the final track, the inner Rock Star of Brendan McMahon is released as the electric guitar is the main instrument of focus on the track. While the four earlier tracks easily show off the songwriter side of McMahon, “Beat” is the song that really exposes the guitarist in him. While late in the tracking of the EP, the track “Beat” helps to remind the listener that Brendan McMahon can really rock when he wants to.

When comparing Marker 7-58 (Brendan McMahon’s last release while he was using the moniker Satellite Gods) to his new EP of Universalist, the biggest difference that you can see is that the new release seems to make use of McMahon’s singer-songwriter side much more than the last album. The last release felt more like an album while the new release seems more like a collection of tunes, each deserving to be heard. While not altogether sporadic, Universalist feels a lot looser with its musical variety in the styles contained within each of the songs than Marker 7-58 did. While not as solidified as that last release, Universalist is still a solid release as the five songs that are present show off many sides of Brendan McMahon’s songwriter personality.

As very little actual music from the Universalist EP exists on YouTube, check out the preview video for the song “Beat”. Then, check out the track “On My Way” from Brendan McMahon and the rest of the band Satellite Gods.

For more information, check out Brendan McMahon’s PR firm, The RMG Media Group.

Click on the album cover below to purchase a copy of the track “Mother”:Brendan McMahon pic2