Andrew McMahon “Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness”
It is no surprise to learn that this solo album from Andrew McMahon is an expansive and diverse collection. After all, Mr McMahon has already been through quite a lot during his life. This includes in his musical career where he first found fame as the vocalist, pianist and primary songwriter in the band Something Corporate and then Jack’s Mannequin. He has also been through a lot in his personal life having been diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia which required a stem cell transplant. Although in many ways the tone of this album might have been set by the birth of his daughter earlier this year as it certainly has an uplifting feel.
This is clearly shown by first song “Canyon Moon”, which is a wonderful intro to the album, with a melodic and instantly captivating adult pop feel, all moved along by an infectious beat. The following tracks, “Cecelia & The Satellite” and “High Dive” have a sparser sound but a very modern sound. The second of these could easily be picked up by TV to be a soundtrack for some kind of feel good picture montage.
“All Our Lives” sees the anthemic quality of the songs hit an even higher peak. It’s a euphoric sounding song which is instantly loveable. The pop beat is also in full force on “Halls” and “Driving Through A Dream” is another great anthem which despite its modern sound and electronic beats still has the hint of fab eighties driving pop. That almost eighties feel is also on the last track “Maps For The Getaway” but importantly it doesn’t enter ‘retro’ territory.
There are also plenty of twists and turns throughout the album. The song “See Her On The Weekend” gives a change in feeling with its slower and more measured approach which supports the story telling lyrical side. The excellent “Rainy Girl” has a sweet piano opening that catches you by surprise. It’s a simpler and slower song but has a delightful melody which perfectly sits alongside the heartfelt vocals.
Having not really experienced any of Andrew McMahon’s previous material, this album has turned out to be a really pleasant surprise. Against the backdrop of all the challenges he has faced it is a remarkably upbeat and uplifting album. It’s a collection of really well-crafted pop songs, with a hint of both modern electronic sound and more classic eighties pop rock, on paper that doesn’t sound so great! But trust us it works, really, really well!