Album Review: Jack's Mannequin, 'People and Things'

70 Billboard Rating

JACK'S MANNEQUIN
People and Things
Producers: Jim Scott, Rob Cavallo, Andrew McMahon
Sire Records
Release Date: Oct. 4

"People, Running." "Amelia Jean." "Amy, I." It isn't hard to figure out why Andrew McMahon called the new Jack's Mannequin album "People and Things." If the singer's lyrics here reflect his dealings with the folks around him, though, the music often suggests his thoughts on another cast of characters-guys like Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel and Elton John. "People and Things" is the most classic-rock-oriented outing yet from Jack's Mannequin, which began as side project during McMahon's days with Southern California emo crew Something Corporate. (The latter toured last year in support of a greatest-hits set and has spoken of recording another studio album.) The more expansive arrangements suit McMahon's hyper-expressive singing, especially on a handful of cuts ("My Racing Thoughts," "Platform Fire") with keyboards by veteran session player Patrick Warren. But occasionally they make McMahon's songwriting feel less distinct than it has in the past. "Television" and "Release Me" could fit on records by Train or the Goo Goo Dolls without anyone noticing.

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