Album Review: Jack's Mannequin - 'People And Things'

14 January 2012 | 3:13 pm | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

McMahon steps it up, again.

Personally I have always been more of a Something Corporate fan than a Jack's Mannequin one and I have never really seen a big enough difference between the two acts to warrant Andrew McMahon needing both projects. His reasons aside I'm not going to complain in a forum much louder than an online review as I do enjoy the man's talents, however they decide to come out.

It is these talents that cannot be denied and on the third Jack's Mannequin record 'People And Things' we see that them continue to grow. Opening track My Racing Thoughts channels a slight Ryan Adams, country alternate rock vibe, an honestly is not a strong number to begin with, but it does show an improvement in McMahon and the group's composition skills. The use of extra instrumentation, namely the colourful strings and synthesisers, give the sound an around “big” feel.

It is on second track Release Me however, that we see the game stepping up. Easily one of the highlights with a chorus that can rival most eighties power ballads and the finest verse sections on the record. The previous album 'The Glass Passenger' saw a massive leap in maturity in the lyrical side of McMahon's music due to his battle with leukaemia, on 'People And Things' the music seems to have caught up.

That being said these songs would be no where near as effective as they are were it not for the production, handled by Jim Scott, Rob Cavallo and McMahon himself, which sets the main piano and keyboard lines in their right place and emphasises the many excellent drum patterns, especially in the song Amy, I thanks to the use of room style reverb effects.

There are slower, sombre moments, such as Hey Hey Hey (We're All Gonna Die) that change to bright up tempo tracks like People, Running which could be used as a theme song if the ever decided to remake 'Friends.'

The record closes on some softer notes with the acoustically driven folk tune Restless Dream, and the piano ballad, Casting Lines, that includes some powerful, choir backed chorus lines for good measure. 

'People And Things' is a logical step for Jack's Mannequin as it combines the bright, pop tones of the band's debut 'Everything In Transit,' with the darker more serious side of 'The Glass Passenger' to create the group's most mature works to date.

1 My Racing Thoughts

2 Release Me

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3 Television

4 Amy, I

5 Hey Hey Hey (We're All Gonna Die)

6 People, Running

7 Amelia Jean

8 Platform Fire

9 Hostage

10 Restless Dream

11 Casting Lines