Angie McMahon embodies self-assuredness

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Angie McMahon embodies self-assuredness

Australian Music Prize
Words by Bryget Chrisfield

Angie McMahon’s voice – rich in tone with just the right amount of vibrato – veers from vulnerable to boss-like in a heartbeat and her delivery feels unrestrained, like a wild bird.

The sound of a flowing river opens Saturn Returning, this record’s opening lead single, with its dramatic piano parts fluttering like a super-anxious heartbeat. Fireball Whiskey kicks off with lively birdsong: “This morning/ I didn’t want to get out of the shower/ But hot water runs out/ And you have to carry on, don’t you?” During the Springsteen-esque Letting Go, McMahon repeatedly sings, “It’s okay, it’s okay/ Make mistakes, make mistakes,” as if bookmarking this pick-me-up for future reference. Then a totally unselfconscious cathartic release recurs in Exploding, with McMahon belting, “I hope that I’m always exploding!” ad infinitum like she’s spinning ‘round in circles on a mountaintop.

I Am Already Enough’s title alone works as a mantra and reminders to breathe/exhale abound throughout McMahon’s second set (see: Serotonin’s “ha-ha” percussion). With its piano chords evoking John Hiatt’s Have A Little Faith In Me, closer Making It Through arrives at an epiphany: “Just making it through is okay.”

Light, Dark, Light Again – this album’s title alone suggests McMahon’s been through the wringer, yet she embodies self-assuredness throughout. Here we find an artist who has reevaluated life’s priorities to discover that music-making and Mother Nature are equally important to her overall wellbeing.