FFS’s New Band Review Panel: Danny Mahon


damien-girlingDamien Girling: Everybody is a sucker for a particular genre of music, one that will appeal immediately without the necessity of multiple listens. Fortunately for Danny Mahon and, more to the point, myself, his genre falls nicely within the bracket of distortion-augmented indie-pop. His first song ‘Beat Me Up’ is an infectious mix of the sort of chord progressions favoured by American indie darlings Girls and Dodos, country-esq slide guitar and vocals that sound as though they’ve been ripped from the throat of an early Arctic Monkeys support act.

His second track ‘AK-47’ borrows shamelessly from the Smiths magnificent ‘There is a Light that Never Goes Out’, with a vocal melody that sounds as if Bob Mould, front man of seminal punk bands Hüsker Dü and Sugar has taken residence in inner city Sheffield. Whilst such brazen acts of theft might turn the stomachs of hardened Smiths and Bob Mould fans, this particular Smiths and Bob Mould fan finds it rather charming and my overwhelming thought is envy, for being able to pull it off.

What gives Danny Mahon a sense of uniqueness is that he infects his songs with an insouciance that is absent from the music of the Smiths, Girls and the Dodos. One is left thinking that whilst Danny Mahon’s a gentleman whose head is lined with the same frosty melancholia that decorates the Smiths music he’d also be a picture of effervescence at a party. Definitely an artist to keep an eye on.

Ali (1)Ali Mason: Judging by his songs, Danny Mahon inhabits a tougher world than I do; one in which people beat him up for how he chooses to wear his hair and he fantasises about shooting crack dealers. Beat Me Up and AK47 sound like the musical equivalent of Danny Dyer films, while Eric the King sounds like an unwanted, boozed-up, post-pub serenade. Whether the experiences that inform these singalongs are real or imagined, it all sounds a bit out of date, and muscially irrelevant in a world which has already tired of the Fratellis and Little Man Tate. Ultimately, it’s hard to imagine Mahon’s music appealing to anyone other than the type of villains who populate his songs.

Joe SkrebelsJoe Skrebels: This is the kind of recklessly in-your-face punk-folk that fans of Frank Turner could enjoy, but there’s such a lack of subtlety in Mahon’s lyrics it almost becomes laughable and at times pretty unpleasant. Opening a song about hating chav drug dealers with ‘I wouldn’t piss on you/If you were on fire/I’d rather watch you burn’ seems tasteless and, dare I say it, hypocritical after a song lamenting being beaten up unnecessarily by what seems like the same kind of character.

12 comments for “FFS’s New Band Review Panel: Danny Mahon

  1. Adam
    29 April 2010 at 4:57 pm

    I agree massively with craig, Dont have a clue how any of you get the job of writing review’s on artists because you clearly no [really very little]about music. danny mahon is unique as through his lyrics he sings about things nobody else will do and if your from manchester things you can relate to. Your the type of guys to agree with liam fray when he says “the courteeners are the best thing to come out of manchester in the last decade” you need to clean your ears and appreicate the lyrical genius which is mr mahon.

    • Stephen W Thomas
      Stephen Thomas
      29 April 2010 at 5:54 pm

      Bearing in mind the above reviews are opinions, and thus incredibly subjective, I don’t think it’s fair to claim anyone knows ‘nothing’ about music.

      As it happens, Danny Mahon sings about things that a lot of other musicians have – the state of the union thing is an approach taken by artists in every genre, The Holloways and Scroobius Pip coming to mind immediately. The problem is that singing about drug dealers and what’s wrong with the UK and such, any artist is going to sound a little preachy, and I think this is what Mahon suffers from. I don’t think he’s necessarily a bad musician, just that like many before him he hasn’t worked out a recipe for making socially-relevant songs that don’t sound a little worthy. No mean task, and that he has a growing following must say something about his ability – I have no following at all, and I’ve been knocking about this planet for 22 years now.

      Also, though a trivial point, I doubt anyone on this site would rank The Courteeners as Manchester’s best musical output in the last decade. We’re a folk site, so we’d probably be more likely to choose an artist like Stephen Fretwell, who is actually from Scunthorpe, but found his musical following in Manchester.

  2. Tim
    29 April 2010 at 4:58 pm

    there names and pictures just made me laugh,

    • 20 January 2011 at 2:07 pm

      Tim or tom ??, Hear your having a chuckle about my pictures i [am considered attractive by women] down are way in sheffeild being playing guitars for [emphatically a lot of] years aswell [played] many ephiphones and gibsons, there is no point aruging over this its stupid just enjoy it you love it dont ya.

  3. Craig
    29 April 2010 at 5:14 pm

    I don’t understand why you would slate somone so oviously making a stir throughout manchester, I would expect anyone from any built up area across the UK would relate to a song from danny mahons list. He has a ever growing fan base that he embrasses and provides a great experience for all. Your reviews seem to sugest that his music is cold and out-dated, you will find the reverse is true.

  4. Lynn
    Lynn Roberts
    30 April 2010 at 8:21 am

    I think the only problem is that Danny’s music probably isn’t aimed at the folk fans FFS caters for.

    No reviewer can claim to have a more valid opinion than any other. It’s always just an opinion. But what we’ve tried to do is gather people with the same attitude and a similar taste in music together. If it’s not for you, don’t visit these pages.

    FFS Editor

  5. Joe Skrebels
    30 April 2010 at 10:57 am

    Craig, this is a new band panel and the fact that there are three separate writers talking about Danny Mahon should give you the clue that this is an opinion piece. If you’d just read instead of reacted you would see that Damien clearly enjoyed the tracks we were sent, Ali and I clearly didn’t.

    Just because a site disagrees with a fan’s opinions doesn’t mean it warrants abuse (although I am glad you reposted in a less aggressive way). For myself, I’m more than happy for my writing to be commented upon and disagreed with (that’s what makes music brilliant after all), but your insults really don’t help advance the discussion. I may not like Danny Mahon’s music but I never said that no-one else should – feel free to have an opinion, just don’t expect everyone to share it.

  6. Bill
    30 April 2010 at 5:41 pm

    It is important to remember that yes, this is a site for opinions. You cant “know” what good music is. You cant “prove” that it has merit. Clearly a lot of angry Danny Mahon fans here.

    I like Danny. I think he is a skillfull lyric writer, and a comittment and passion for his music. The point some people have made that the social commentary can begin to wear a bit thin I think is valid. He is not doing anything massively original is he? Like others have stated on here, he is following a fairly well-trodden path. I do think he does it well though, and that his songs are good.

    @Adam. you seemed to have made a few assumptions when commenting on this. (What does Liam Fray have to do with any of this? It’s only you that brought him up.) Danny’s fans are some of the most passionate I have ever seen, and good for them. But some of the snobbish tendancies some people have demonstarted, and the narrow mindedness of some of the comments doesn’t do you or him justice.

    I have a lot of time for Danny Mahon. His live shows are ace. At his best, he is a witty and subversive lyricist, and a really genuine and honest songwriter. There is something to be said for that. I would love to see him extend his reportaire (really not sure if that is spelt right), and try his hand at writing on different subject matters and musical styles. He could end up being championed by a group of snobbish people who seem to want the same thing over and over again. I would hate to see him get stuck in a rut. He does what he is doing at the moment extremly well, and I think “Council Estate Love” is great, you can really here his passion and sincerity, but dont get trapped Danny.

  7. 20 May 2010 at 5:29 pm

    It was only a few weeks back i heard danny mahon, he is [very] mintt [indeed]

  8. jay ellis
    19 June 2010 at 1:52 am

    the courteeners are a good band, first album is great, the second is [not].
    But if you listen to dannys lyrics, you feel summit, like if you play beat me up on a friday night,your gonna ave it and party on down.
    And what do these 3 [people] know bout music and working class living,unlike whoever listens to dannys songs would relate to it, for instace beat me up
    “hes gonna break my nose, he might even stab me, thought he was all on his own, but then his mates just grabbed me,he then proceded to look me in the eye and said yer little fucker time to die.”

    That [sort of thing] happens in real life…
    J x

  9. katherine
    15 July 2010 at 6:08 pm

    you lot aint got aclue danny mahon is a class act and a talented song writter i have followed him from the start and is a truely amazing. and if any of your pannel took time out to go to a gig u would see he has a huge fan base and always puts on a belting show.

  10. Dom
    17 August 2010 at 12:30 pm

    Hmmm, obviously some people take music reviewing a little too seriously.
    Not every song written is meant to be serious, people miss the point a little bit I think with Danny’s music.
    Danny is a very clever chap whose light hearted music and his take on life and it’s quirky features are a joy to listen to. Top lad, top musician.

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