Album Reviews: Everything in Transit by Jack's MannequinAndrew McMahon is a likeable frontman who has spread his tunes between two bands, Something Corporate and Jack’s Mannequin. The latter is a power-pop confection, and it’s unfortunate that Everything In Transit sees its release at back-to-school time instead of the beginning of summer. The songs, packed with pathos and big builds, are ripe for soundtracking teenage summertimes, and all the huge self-discoveries, forged friendships, fleeting romances, and trips to the mall that those days entail.
McMahon is in the midst of a battle with leukemia, so he’s the rare young frontman who is unhesitatingly forgiven for “life or death” melodrama. He’s a fighter, but he’s fragile, too, and he lays himself bare in his lyrics, repeatedly returning to a place of hope and camaraderie. Musically, though, Everything In Transit is too general and too sugary to create much gravitas independent of its sad backstory. Clearly, Jack’s Mannequin aspires for more than pop escapism, but this seems to be what McMahon and company do best --and they do it pretty well.
“Miss Delaney,” for instance, is a piano-driven pop sing-along that will appeal to fans of Fountains of Wayne, and also tips its hat to The Beach Boys. The piano is prominent throughout, and often takes the songs to places that listeners may be hesitant to admit. (Could “I’m Ready,” for instance, almost be a Vanessa Carlton song? Yes.) The front-end is considerably stronger than the last half, which loses the contagious thread begun by the breezy “Holiday From Real” and the driving “The Mixed Tape.” - Adam McKibbin
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