It’s always the most familiar things that bring you back to reality. When the first track of Jack Mannequin’s People and Things begins, Andrew McMahon’s perfect voice washes over you and you can’t help but be calmed by his racing thoughts. It’s been three years since Jack’s Mannequin released an album and if you’ve been with them since the beginning you know they’re growing up. In the same way that Dark Blue used to be the perfect soundtrack to late night drives with your best friend, and you still think about it when you’re racing down a highway; People And Things slides into your subconscious and it makes you wonder what song could have possibly be stuck in your head before you heard Release Me. It’s powerful. It’s your new favorite song.
People and Things has exactly what to look for from an artist’s third album. There’s that familiarity in McMahon’s vocals, the clear development of musical thought, and the comforting reminders that they’re not just suspended in time, but everyday growing, changing, and living remind you of the best moments and make you ready for the next.
Lyrically, Jack’s Mannequin has always approached songs from the beautiful and sometimes terrifying passage of time, a unique accomplishment that few artists seem to imitate. Accordingly, McMahon is no stranger to an idea of mortality and these songs are the markers of the time followed by his successful stem cell transplant and recovery from acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He appreciates life and his lyrics make you feel the same way. Quite noticeably, there’s a clear maturity developing in his recent work and it’s comforting to hear it happening. There’s nothing but reassurance in the way these songs remind you that things can change.
Jack’s Mannequin has developed an unmistakable musical fingerprint comprised of upbeat melodies and drumbeats accompanied by smooth and passionate melodic expressions. Despite the adherence to style, its predecessors do not limit the album and it explores new ideas and boundaries with every track.
Perhaps the most comforting part of People and Things is the raw honesty in every single song. It’s the fact that you can hear every ounce of emotion pouring out of his soul as he sings Casting Lines, the final track. It’s the fact that you can identify with every thing he says in Release Me. It’s the fact that this is your new album on repeat.
People and Things is not just a one-time listen or a singles album. It’s a well thought out artistic piece that flows almost effortlessly through time, marking the memorable moments of life, much like Jack’s Mannequin has done in the past. It is a preview of what’s to come as neither age or tragedy has limited McMahon’s prolific and sincere work. There’s hope for the future, light in every day, trials in every life, dreams around every corner, and confidence in at least most every step. Once again, Jack’s Mannequin makes it to the top of my list, the bottom of my soul, and the back of my mind. Incomparable.