They say the third times a charm, and in the case of Jack’s Mannequin’s PeopleandThings, that old tried and true adage is quite spot on. With their third studio release, Andrew McMahon and company have dropped upon us a thick slice of piano-based pop-rock euphoria, 11 tracks of arguably their best material ever put to wax.
Sure, it’s not exactly the youthful and exuberant outburst that was their 2005 debut EverythingInTransit, but PeopleandThings is the bands most complete record they’ve yet to release, one that features 11 tracks worth listening to, entirely free of filler of any kind. Opening the record with panache is lead single “My Racing Thoughts,” a wonderful piece of piano rock that effectively sets the stage for the rest of PeopleandThings. Moments of catchy, yet serene uber-melodies abound, and when combined with grown up introspective flashes, leads to some of PeopleandThings standout moments (“Hostage,” “Television”). The band has not forgotten what they do best either – turn a thoughtful ballad – with such heartstring pluckers as the endearing “Restless Dream” and “Casting Lines.”
Perhaps the most endearing quality of PeopleandThings is the maturation of frontman Andrew McMahon and not only a singer, but a songwriter as well. It’s evident that surviving a battle with leukemia and enduring the demise of teen wunderkinds Something Corporate has given McMahon a new view and lease on life (along with getting married), replacing the usual angsty teenage confessions with much more complex themes like everyday struggles of life and immortality. While that’s not to say that relatable topics like affairs of the hearts aren’t covered, McMahon goes about this here in a much more adult fashion.
It’s well-rounded, it’s vibrant, it’s emotional, it’s engaging, suffice to say, PeopleandThings is a good record, one that does justice to the breath of Jack’s Mannequin’s previous body of work. Hell, it might just be the best they’ve ever been.