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Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness/Andrew McMahon (Something Corporate): Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness

Album Notes

The eponymous debut album from the Jack's Mannequin and Something Corporate mastermind under the Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness moniker, McMahon taps into his more commercial sensibilities and pulls out a ten-track set of Fun.-, Killers-, and Passion Pit-inspired pop confections that are as effortlessly breezy and melodic as they are steeped in carefully constructed melodrama. Opener "Canyon Moon" sets the tone with a punchy, Twin Peaks-ian tale of a lost girl that sounds like Coldplay distilled through the fat, foamy, factory-provided headphones that used to accompany the yellow Sony Sports Walkman -- there is a distinct, overly-serious, yet oddly comforting retro mid--80s vibe at work here that more or less permeates the entire album -- but McMahon saves the real earworm for the second course; "Cecilia and the Satellite," with its tried and true romantic grandstanding and big, Bastille-inspired group vocals, seems destined for a run of similarly themed movie trailers, and it helps to propel the listener through lesser, though by no means dreadful, cuts like "High Dive" and the sad-sack "See Her on the Weekend." McMahon's spot-on, self-effacing lyrics fit right in with the post-emo millennial overshare persuasion, and his penchant for on-the-nose phrasing and big pop moments would be grating if those instincts weren't so sharply honed and the sugary results so immaculately delivered. He may be in the wilderness emotionally, but his songs reside firmly beneath the bright lights of the city, where love, death, laughter, and heartache are most likely to fester. ~ James Christopher Monger


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