Ever have a bad day where you want to hop in the car and just drive away for a while? Jack’s Mannequin is the kind of music you’d be playing in the background. Jack’s Mannequin is made up of frontman Andrew McMahon, guitarist Bobby Anderson, bassist Mikey “The Kid” Wagner and drummer Jay McMillan. The band recently released their third album, “People and Things” in early October. With hopes of making it to the top of Billboard’s Top 200, Jack’s Mannequin had Matt Theisan from Relient K and associates from Green Day’s production crew help adjust the sound of the band from previous albums, but nonetheless they are sticking to who they are. The sound is noticeably different but shows the maturity and growth of Jack’s Mannequin from their “Formation and Everything In Transit” days.
McMahon, lyricist and vocalist of the band, has been known for telling stories in each album. The first album was about breaking up, the second, “Glass Passenger,” was about McMahon’s long term battle with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and “People and Things” has been said to be a reflection of his own marriage. It is meant to show the flaws in most relationships that people usually glaze over. Andrew wants people to see the real side of marriage instead of the usual painted grins and happy surreal cover of what young marriage appears to be. He highlights the flaws found in every relationship in a way that makes it more relatable to the audience.
The starting track and first single off the album “My Racing Thoughts” automatically gives you the feel of the whole album. It alerts the listener that this is something unlike anything the band has ever done before with a very slight, synthesized beat and accompanying piano rhythm in the backdrop. Some songs like “Release Me” touch the deep topic of imperfect relationships. Others are slightly more innocuous, like “Television,” which is based on the simple idea of not being able to sleep with the television off. With its fun drumbeat, the listener is easily bought back to the band’s older material.
“Amy, I” has a similar sound to the first track with more powerful vocals. “People Running” certainly has one of the more plainer beats on the album but the lyrics make the song what it is. “Restless Dream” and “Platform Fire” are slower jams from the usual upbeat tempo found in most of the band’s music.
The only shortcoming of the album arrives in the form of each song seeming to blend and merge together almost too much. At some point it feels like “People and Things” could pass by in the background without you even realizing. The album as a whole is not exactly life-changing, but it is most definitely worth a listen for anyone with solidly good taste in music. With several of the eleven tracks, the band has managed to do something most artists have merely dreamed of doing, which is move people.