February 23, 2006

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Jack’s Mannequin, Everything in Transit
Maverick, 2005

2005 was quite the year for Andrew McMahon. With his popular alternative rock band, Something Corporate, on a break, McMahon couldn’t be content sitting back and relaxing, so he decided to explore a side project. The fruit of McMahon’s labor was released to the public in the form of Everything in Transit, the debut CD of Jack’s Mannequin.

With Everything in Transit, McMahon offers his signature smooth voice and piano skills as well as heartfelt lyrics that tell the story of McMahon’s return to his hometown after being away to pursue music. Jim Wirt, who has produced songs for Something Corporate, lends vocals, bass and guitar, and helped McMahon produce the CD. Bobby “Raw” Anderson (guitar), Patrick Warren (organ, strings, and arrangements) and even Mötley Crüe’s Tommy Lee (live drums) appear on the CD as well.

The CD has a very laid-back, California feel to it, which isn’t surprising since McMahon considers The Beach Boys an inspiration. Tracks such as “La La Lie” and “Made for Each Other” are upbeat and catchy.

The first single off the album, “The Mixed Tape,” has been steadily gaining air time across the country. Popular WB teen drama One Tree Hill, which helped launch the musical careers of Gavin DeGraw and Tyler Hilton, recently made Jack’s Mannequin’s music a staple on the show and had the band perform on the Feb. 15 episode.

One of the best things about Everything in Transit is that each track has its own distinctive sound work well together to give a complete musical experience. As McMahon sings in “The Mixed Tape,” he succeeds in writing a “symphony of sound.”

The only track that doesn’t quite match the potential that McMahon exhibits is “I’m Ready,” the fourth song on the disc. The rhythm is likable, but a strange narrative interlude disrupts its flow. When McMahon states, “When did society decide that we had to change and wash a T-shirt after every individual use? If it’s not dirty, I’m gonna wear it,” it comes off sounding a little too cliché.

In addition to writing, producing, and recording his music, McMahon has also recently overcome a battle with leukemia. In mid-2005, while McMahon was still in the process of recording the CD, he was diagnosed with leukemia. After chemotherapy, a bout with pneumonia, a stem cell transplant, and an attack of shingles, McMahon’s health finally stabilized and his leukemia went into remission.

With his health getting better, McMahon can start focusing more attention on his musical career. His life experiences will undoubtedly provide even more material for future hits, but for now his fans can content themselves with Everything in Transit. A-
— Kristin Brodeur