Melburnian singer-songwriter Angie McMahon has been turning heads for what seems like an eternity. Following a scattered release of highly-praised singles over the last several years, McMahon’s long-awaited debut album Salt similarly follows in the same vein and runs close to a faultless delivery.
Bruce Springsteen, Lianne La Havas and Big Thief are among McMahon’s numerous influences, sonically reflected in her own brand of heartfelt folk-rock. Much of her sound revolves around the adroit use of dynamics, rendering each track to ebb and flow with McMahon’s forthright lyrics.
While Salt is primarily driven by deft guitar work and a tight rhythm section, it’s McMahon’s stunning vocal performance that unequivocally captures the spotlight. Her voice rises and falls like a gathering storm on slow-burner ‘And I Am A Woman’, then finally erupts in rolling thunder nearing its frustrated, howling conclusion. Of similar flavour is ‘Mood Song’, a powerful number that summons a rising crescendo of horns that crest over the peak of McMahon’s penultimate refrain. Her stunning vocal range takes notes from k.d. lang, Florence Welch and Lucy Rose with a timbre that sporadically oscillates between husky intimacy and cathartic clamour.
McMahon’s collection of songs could easily find themselves in a proverbial issue of Chicken Soup for the Soul. From the lethargic drawl of ‘Pasta’ to the soul-crushing lament of ‘Soon’, it’s remarkably easy to find yourself in McMahon’s strikingly relatable lyrics. It’s akin to peering into a still pool of water; a look into your own life as much as hers.
Success has been a long time coming for Angie McMahon, and Salt simply cements that notion into reality.