Sean McMahon & The MoonMen Shine

We review ‘Shiner’ by Sean McMahon & The Moonmen

sean mcmahon poster


Sean McMahon is most recently known for his exceptional guitar work with great Melbourne songstress Suzannah Espie.  His work on Espie’s last album (Mother’s Not Feeling Herself Today) was a critical ingredient to its success.  In fact, it was one of my favourite releases of 2015.  McMahon’s influence extends to her live shows as well.

But there’s a lot more to McMahon than guitar side-kick.  He has made his mark with alt. country outfits Downhills Home, Sean McMahon’s Western Union and his concept album Welcome to Gippsland.

With his new band The MoonMen (Josh Duiker -drums, Michael Hubbard -bass and Ben Franz – Pedal Steel), McMahon has extended his musical palette to Americana, psychedelic country and alternate rock on Shiner (to be released April 1 2016 on MGM).

Shiner contains plenty of personal reflections, many of which are pretty painful – leaving behind personal hang-ups, breaking downward spirals and harking back to dark moments.  Above all, it’s a testament to the power of creating music to cope with these shadowy thoughts.  This intensity helps make Shiner an important release.

Having said all that, there’s a lot more going on with this record than dark, profound lyrics.  There are terrific riffs, engaging jangling guitar and McMahon’s vocals which echo Chuck Prophet or Ray Davies.

The alt. country opener ‘House Of Mirrors’ has great cross-wired guitars.  ‘Broken Hill’ is a highlight – catchy, tough and defiant, with well-crafted guitar work and supportive pedal steel, while ‘Lie To Yourself’ is a convincing fuzzy rocker, with tough questions being posed.   ‘Here Comes The Night’ is quieter with intensely personal lyrics and more great guitar hooks, while ‘Turn To You’ is another stand-out, a deliberate and tender plea, a minimal acoustic number which draws you in inexorably.

Jemma Rowlands adds some vocal embellishment to an older song, ‘Further To Run’ which chronicles hope and friendship.  ‘Holiday From My Dreams’, which was finished in a tiny hotel room overlooking Paris rooftops, cranks it back up.  The title track is a rocky closer, with some Led Zeppelin-influenced riff.

Sean McMahon & The MoonMen have delivered a collection that is reflective, personal and rocking – and doesn’t that make a great combo for an album?

Here’s the video for ‘House Of Mirrors’:



Up to the release date of April 1, you can pre-order Shiner here.

Sean McMahon & The MoonMen are heading out for a short run of shows to launch the album.




Wednesday April 6 (solo)

Gasoline Pony.

with Elwood Myre

free, 8pm

115 Marrickville Rd, Marrickville NSW

Ph: 02 9569 2668


Friday April 8

The Junkyard

with Elwood Myre

free 8.30pm

88 Church St, Maitland  NSW

Ph: 02 4933 5242


Saturday April 9

Stag & Hunter

with Elwood Myre

free 8.30pm

187 Maitland Rd, Mayfield NSW

Ph: 02 4968 1205


Sunday April 10

Marrickville Bowlo

with Elwood Myre

free 4pm

91 Sydenham Rd, Marrickville  NSW

Ph: 02 9557 1185


Saturday April 16

Bella Union

with guests Luke Brennan(Big Smoke) and St Jude

54 Victoria St, Carlton  VIC

Ph: 03 9650 5699

Tickets $12/$15, doors 8pm


via Annie Johnsson Publicity



We review ‘Shiner’ by Sean McMahon & The Moonmen


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Author: Rob Dickens

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