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Review: Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness – Zombies On Broadway

With an instantly recognisable voice, Andrew McMahon is perhaps not known as well by his name but more as the vocalist and songwriter behind piano pop-rock outfits Something Corporate and Jack’s Mannequin. With 20 years of performance experience under his belt, it’s no surprise that McMahon has gone through many guises, from his first college band Left Here to Something Corporate to Jack’s Mannequin to Andrew McMahon and now to the latest iteration, Andrew McMachon in the Wilderness. Following on from his 2014 self-titled album which included the Gold-selling, cross-genre, US hit ‘Cecilia in the Satellite‘, McMahon’s latest album Zombies On Broadway was released earlier this year in February 2017. Here’s what I thought:

Zombies on Broadway Review

 

Opening with 30 seconds of city sounds from New York, this intro track sets the scene for a metropolitan record, which is soon followed up with the first track proper, ‘Brooklyn You’re Killing Me’. This fast-paced lo-fi industrial sounding track leaves behind the sounds of Something Corporate and Jack’s Mannequin, with an almost +44 level of intensity in the driving drum rhythms and punchy powerful choruses. I can see this being a real summer festival anthem.

‘So Close‘ sounds a bit more like an early SC track, with its unashamed pop/synth vibe, which is contrasted with the 2000’s r’n’b feel of ‘Don’t Speak For Me (True)‘.  ‘Fire Escape’ sounds quite like the DIY sound of London singer-songwriter Frank Hamilton whereas ‘Dead Man’s Dollar’ has an almost Bastille feeling in the euphoric big beat chorus. Are you noticing a theme here?

The album could be seen in two ways: confused or diverse. I lean toward the latter. Despite moving from genre to genre quicker than a monkey changing branches on the treetops, the consistency of the songwriting and the wealth of McMahon’s musical experience unite the record. The tracks are all piano/keyboard-centred with plenty of hooks, big choruses and lyrics steeped in imagery and metaphor – ‘My heart is an apartment building oin the verge/ A testament to days more optimistic.’ – Love And Great Buildings.

If you’re a fan of the old-school tracks by Something Corporate and Jack’s Mannequin and can handle your pop-rock leaning more to the pop side of the spectrum and without the overdriven guitars of McMahon’s former bands, then this new album will no doubt be a delight to listen to, with his familiar voice guideing you through his new experiences and music. For first time listeners of McMahon, the album is a real mix bag so there’s sure to be something in there that you like, and I’m sure that it won’t take too much rummaging around to find it.

McMahon is currently on tour in the US with Atlas Genius and Night Riots, playing many sold out shows along the way. He will be over in the UK performing shows at London’s Bush Hall, Manchester’s Deaf Institute, Glasgow’s King Tuts and three UK dates of Slam Dunk Festival. See his tour dates and book tickets here – www.andrewmcmahon.com/tour

 

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