Jack’s Mannequin – “Everything In Transit”

To put it pretty bluntly, I’ve wanted this CD for a long time, and after listening to it I’m SO glad that I actually have it! If any of you out there are a fan of bands like All-American Rejects etc, but want something sounding more genuine in its creation, then THIS is what you want!

A bit of background information for those of you who don’t know of this band (and it’s ok, I don’t expect you to this time!), Jack’s Mannequin is the brainchild of one Andrew McMahon, who was originally in an alternative punk band called Something Corporate. That was, until he was diagnosed with Leukaemia and temporarily gave up music when he went into remission. After a while of going through chemotherapy and all the other processes one must go through, McMahon was rid of his Leukaemia and came back to make Jack’s Mannequin, a project with which he could explore all these feelings and stories of his time away.

I mainly bought this CD because of the song The Mixed Tape, because I heard it once and couldn’t get it out of my head for days (in the good way, not the annoying way!), but all the rest of the songs on Everything In Transit are just as good as that one. At the heart of it, this is someone telling stories, and each song represents a different story whether it be about his lifestyle that he lives as with opener Holiday From Real, or a story about not quite being on the same lines as someone you really like as with La La Lie. Whilst the subject matter may seem to revolve mostly around these two subjects, its entirely easy to see that each one is driven by different experiences and that you read into each of them what you will.

The cover to this album is a very attractive artists rendering of the Venice Boardwalk just off of Santa Monica, L.A. This, by sheer coincidence, happens to be one of my favourite places and is also very close to the 4th Street Studios where the album was recorded. As such, a few of the songs material is taken from the lifestyle this city exudes, whether it be the laid-back, bohemian hippie lifestyle of the Venice Beach area in Holiday From Real, or the picturesque portrait of a busy, carefree city in closing song Into The Airwaves. The Mixed Tape is constructed from quiet intros and harder verses, with melodies on the choruses that are so warm and enveloping, its hard not to lose yourself in the song matter, and it easily sets the bar for the rest of the album. The spoken interlude in I’m Ready also speaks a lot about how he views the way that people naturally think and act. But the albums most touching point comes possibly from closer Into The Airwaves, a song about living in happy surroundings and suddenly questioning things when he finds out someone he knew and cared about a lot has moved far away, the lyrics expressing “I’ll send this message through the speakers, They told me that you moved, I’ll cross this country on a frequency.”

Although Everything In Transit may sound all-too melancholy for those of you who prefer their music with more bite, this has every reason to be exactly that. Jack’s Mannequin aren’t setting out to be stadium-fillers a-la Fall Out Boy, and Andrew McMahon isn’t trying to be Pete Wentz. They’re setting out to be honest, tell it like it is and show people how much there is out there from the perspective of someone who nearly lost it all. This is a very strong, heartfelt mix of songs from Andrew McMahon (who is obviously very talented, providing writing, vocals AND all piano music), with each song telling a different story and never sounding quite the same as the last.

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