Richard McMahon – Music And Song From The Wooden Crypt (Self-Released)

Genre: Rock

It’s six years since the Mike Fraser-endorsed North East hard rockers Fables Last Stand played their last show but for frontman Richard McMahon the surprise split was simply the end of the beginning where his musical journey was concerned.

If previous solo effort The Illustrated Man occasionally lacked self-confidence – unsurprising given the circumstances – then Music And Song From The Wooden Crypt is a bullish return. It’s brave bordering on the foolhardy.

In fact if McMahon was pitching for a commercial breakthrough then this magical mystery tour of diverse musical styles and lyrical substance is the worst idea ever. But we doubt he was. McMahon is a restless soul and a constantly evolving artist: his latest release is an outpouring of sparkling creativity rather than a thoughtless hard sell.

Bizarrely there isn’t a vocal to speak of until track three – this challenging record opening up with a monotone spoken word passage before segueing into an instrumental akin to a 60s TV soundtrack. That decade looms large over Music And Song From The Wooden Crypt but elements of Bowie, The Kinks, Beatles and Mott move it onwards and upwards.

Captain Oblivion is the only song that clocks in at more than four minutes and alongside the sublime Hinterland it’s an obvious standout. If it’s McMahon’s personal tribute to Bowie then it does the job and if it isn’t then it’s simply a fantastic tribute to a talented songwriter.

Check out the country-tinged Patchwork Life for a different take on a musician who refuses to be pigeon-holed but if Dylan is your muse then skip to Heavy Weather. Everywhere you look this record asks questions and defies logic. That’s why it deserves to make its mark.

RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Rich Pickings