Thursday, October 02, 2008

Album Review: Jack's Mannequin - The Glass Passenger

Andrew McMahon, front man of Jack's Mannequin, embodies determination. It is not a secret that McMahon has had his fair share of adversity. While enjoying success with piano rock band Something Corporate and additional praise for his side project Jack's Mannequin, his world was turned upside down when he was diagnosed with Leukemia. After 6 months of treatment, that prevented him from performing live, he played for the first time post-diagnosis on December 2nd, 2005.

Not only did McMahon recover from cancer but he became a strong voice for cancer research. He has played several benefits for cancer foundations and even started his own, The Dear Jack Foundation.

Jack's Mannequin was formed in 2004 to be an outlet for music McMahon didn't feel belonged in the Something Corporate cannon. With the release of The Glass Passenger it appears to have become a release for McMahon's experiences and hardships. It is an open and intimate record. Though McMahon wanted to avoid a "cancer record" as he stated in an interview last year, the album provides glimpses into his life.

Songs such as "Caves" paint a portrait of his pain and peace. And the song titled "Hammer and Strings" is a tale of being on the road communicating with a friend. The lyrics are beautiful -

These hammers and strings
Been following me around
Behind passenger vans
Through the snow, dirt, and sands
Of 1000 American towns
And my friend calls me up
With her heart heavy still
She says,
"Andy, the doctors
Prescribed me the pills.
But I know I'm not crazy.
I just lost my will.
So why am I, why am I
Taking them still?"

McMahon's vocals are spectacular. They remind me of Death Cab with more "umph." The instrumentation is incredible. It is very balanced, sometimes soft and sometimes rough in the right places. The sound of the album is not revolutionary. It is alternative music that is very radio friendly.

The greatest strength of this record is how easily the listener can connect with the lyrics and melodies. I found myself reflecting on my own life while listening to this album, and I walked away feeling a connection with McMahon.

This might just be my favorite album of the year.
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abby normal said...

I love this album.. Haven't stop listening to it since I got it.. I met Andrew 2 weeks ago at light the night cancer walk.. Nicest guy in the world...

Love your site.. Im gonna put a link from my site to get to yours..

The Captain said...

Thank you for the kind words. I added a link to your site on my page as well.