Bobby Mahoney has always been a favorite of mine. His mixed use of modern rock and traditional sound has been a winner since day one. Bobby Mahoney And The Seventh Son is a hard rock/punk band from New Jersey, who utilizes killer guitar riffs, catchy choruses, and insightful lyrics in their energetic and explosive live show.
The group was formed in December 2010 under the name “Seventh Son” in East Brunswick, NJ by Mahoney, Jon Alba, and Drew Agey. Originally intended for a single show, the band quickly caught on locally and began to play the New Jersey rock circuit.
In 2012, the band released its first EP, Only Ashes Remain, which featured both studio and live tracks. The group continued to trudge forward and was nominated for “Top Young Band” at the 2013 and 2014 Asbury Park Music Awards.
In 2014, the band rebranded as “Bobby Mahoney And The Seventh Son” while simultaneously undergoing some lineup changes. The new endeavor combines some of the favorite tracks of the previous run with some new ideas as well, but ultimately, the same fun rock that all fans grew to enjoy.
The band has shared bills with likes of The Gaslight Anthem, Pianos Become The Teeth, Pity Sex, John Eddie, The Hold Steady, John Herington, and several other national acts while headlining shows of their own, and sharing the stage with many local bands in Asbury Park and New Brunswick, such as Deal Casino, Semiotics, and Hodera.
The band released its first full studio album, Friends In Low Places, in 2014 to rave reviews, along with being nominated again for “Top Young Band” in the Asbury Music Awards. The Aquarian did an extensive review of that disc, and we loved it.
Then in July of 2015, the band released its sophomore effort, The Outskirts, which featured 10 brand new songs written by Mahoney/Alba, and the band was nominated for “Top Rock Band” in the 2015 Asbury Music Awards.
The single “Don’t Ever Love Me” was chosen by DJ Rich Russo (WRAT, WDHA, SiriusXM) as #4 on his “New Jersey Top 15” and #11 on his “Everywhere Top 25” of 2015 lists.
In 2016, the band started work on Shot In The Dark, their third studio album, which had a darker, rawer feel, and featured songs like “Black And Milds,” “Leave It Frayed” and the title track. They hit the road more frequently than they had before, playing as far as Nashville and Indiana, and they continue to do so into 2017.
So, let’s take an in-depth look at Shot In The Dark and see what’s going on with Bobby Mahoney And The Seventh Son now.
First up is a song called “Anxiety Queens.” The song starts out with seemingly micless acoustic guitars and low-key vocals as Mahoney starts his story out. By the second verse, the band is in, and it’s a whirling dervish of sound. Dan Cohen, Andrew Saul, and Mahoney man their guitars like something out of The Godfathers as James McIntosh (drums) and Eric Ransom Knorr (bass) rip up the rhythm section like nobody’s business. Mahoney is a skilled vocalist, and his lyrics are honest and real. He takes his songwriting direction down his path, and the sound is entirely agreeable. The recording is full and bombastic, ushering in loud, tube-fueled electric guitars, bass, and drums as Mahoney sings his tale of being completely jaded. Backing vocals from Knorr, Saul and Cohen are anthemic as hell.
The disc namesake, “Shot In The Dark,” is up next. Mahoney’s vocal attack is decisive and toned as he launches into his tale of risk. Guitars are amazing on this song. Utilizing sophisticated chord progressions, harmonics and a pentatonic overtone that simply rocks, Mahoney, Cohen, and Saul know exactly what they’re doing when it comes to the great guitar sound. The chorus is also a high point on this song. If there’s one thing Mahoney has learned in his years as a songwriter, it’s part creation and placement. McIntosh and Knorr keep things nailed to the floor as Mahoney demonstrates that his compositional skill is only getting better and better, and this song is a perfect example of that culmination of competencies.
Up next is “Reckless.” “Reckless” is a fast-paced number that focuses on harmonies and guitars. Mahoney’s production work comes alive here as he shows his ability to write good music without losing focus with too much overplaying and filler. All guitars make sense, and each player takes turns contributing their fair share to the overall song. The middle-eight lead break is frenetically paced and precise as hell. If you are a fan of original Pretenders guitarist James Honeyman-Scott, you’re going to love the playing here. Once again, choruses rule here, and the verses are seamless and perfectly written for the song.
“Van Gogh” is the next song up. It begins with a waltz of electric lead and rhythm guitar before Bobby comes in with his vocal magic. Mahoney waxes poetic when it comes to the right intentions and he lets you know about the masquerades that “landed him where he is today.” Bass and drums pump the song into its middle-eight lead break as Mahoney continues his saga of starry nights and relationship debris as Cohen and Saul rip things up in the background. Interesting song that works well within the context of the CD.
Moving around the CD, I came to a song called “Infamous.” Flangers sound the start as guitars chug and crank under lead work before Mahoney comes in. This is one of those songs that shows Mahoney’s willingness to leave the Shore sound in the dust and pursue his own thing. Often praised by Shore music icons, Mahoney couldn’t be any further from that label than he already is. This is good ole fashioned rock and roll along the lines of Cheap Trick or the Dead Boys, and it’s a welcome break from most of the Americana bullshit that plagues the scene now. Once again Mahoney has done his homework when it comes to composition and parts all lay in without awkward influential worship. This is his sound, and it works like very few others out there today.
“Black And Milds” is another excellent tune. This seems to be a song about the quandary of the hippest of the hip. “You smell like Black and Milds; your lips taste like wine, you like hardcore bands that I’ve never heard of.” Acoustic guitars mix eloquently with subdued electrics and percussion as Mahoney tells the tale of someone who is way more hip than anyone of use. The individual that only calls when they’re lonely, horny or there’s nobody else around. I love the middle-eight guitar work here as well. Clean, toned and full of expression, the section breathes on its own as it picks up and the band kicks into the song ending. Drums, bass and a bevy of electric six-string dynamics jump into your face as the group beats the devil to get back home.
There are a couple of songs I didn’t get to due to space, but suffice to say that you should pick up Shot In The Dark as soon as possible. Kudos goes out to Joe Larkin, the guy who recorded, mixed and mastered the disc over at William Paterson University, as well as all band members and Bobby Mahoney for an excellent and likable CD. You’ll have a chance to see Bobby Mahoney And The Seventh Son live on May 5 (this weekend) over at The Stone Pony in fantastic Asbury Park. For more information on Bobby Mahoney And The Seventh Son and their great record, Shot In The Dark, head over to bobbymahoneymusic.com.