Album cover for Jack's Mannequin, People And Things
Andrew McMahon hasn’t recorded an album with his original band Something Corporate in nearly a decade but in that time has lessened his focus on their emo-rock style in favour of a much lighter rock sound of Jack’s Mannequin.
With a centralized piano-rock song in the vein of Gavin DeGraw or perhaps a more upbeat Coldplay, Jack’s Mannequin continues to fill that certain void between the arena rock and piano pop sounds, rather, fusing them together for a style that Jack’s Mannequin can almost call its own. In each of the first two albums, this sound had found its niche but being it seven years since the release of Everything In Transit, the sound carries that sense of been-there, done-that.
That’s not to say that People And Things is a step down from either of the previous two records. Though there seems to be nothing adventurous going on with the record as a whole, there’s nothing disappointing either. Songs like Release Me can fit comfortably next to Swim and I’m Ready, while Hey Hey Hey (We’re All Gonna Die) takes an uncertain, philosophical look at not knowing what the future brings (“hey hey hey, we’re all gonna die someday”) while relaying this realization and perspective as McMahon toured for the previous album, The Glass Passenger: “Through the lens of my Polaroid camera/The label looked proud/the New York shows sold out.”
Jack’s Mannequin is in a good place right now as a band. Their last two albums entered in the Top 10 on the Billboard 200 chart so they have a solid fan-base, however, they haven’t reached that status that allows them to be considered a household name. I would argue that with them, that’s perhaps a good thing. The music that makes up this album hasn’t been compromised with over-production. Even after three albums, Jack’s Mannequin still has the natural sound that sets them apart from other pop/rock bands. Should they ever suddenly get a hit that places them at Train or OneRepublic-like popularity, the same stigma that many music fans might place on those aforementioned bands would be placed on Jack’s Mannequin. As of right now, it’s not so they can have their cake and eat it too.
People And Things offers the familiar sounds that Jack’s Mannequin brought to the table with their first two releases. A good mix of lighter soft rock and upbeat piano rock, they continue to be dependable with their musical offerings.
1. My Racing Thoughts
2. Release Me
4. Amy, I
5. Hey Hey Hey (We’re All Gonna Die)
6. People, Running
7. Amelia Jean
8. Platform Fire
10. Restless Dream
11. Casting Lines