Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness
Zombies on Broadway
Release date: February 10, 2017
Label: Vanguard Records
Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness’ sophomore release Zombies on Broadway is finally here and if you thought Twilight brought you mixed feelings, you clearly have not listened to this album. Mostly everyone knows Andrew McMahon as the artist behind “Cecilia and the Satellite”, the summer song of 2015. But this multi-faceted singer-songwriter is also known for being the frontman—and founder—of the indie-pop band Jack’s Mannequin. McMahon’s previous album under his solo project proved to be an attention grabber after it peaked at number 21 on the US Billboard 200 and there was excitement from his fans surrounding this album as well. However, I begrudgingly conclude that this is a let down (a pretty small one, though).
Despite the fact that McMahon explores more serious subjects such as the guilt of being on tour with a wife and daughter at home (“Dead Man’s Dollar”), much of the cuts come off as a bit disingenuous. This album is much more radio-friendly—which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it is a far cry from the originality that dominated his self-titled. And even though the choruses are melodic and fun, by the time the listener gets to the last song of the album, they’ll find the songs to be…well, repetitive and monotonous.
This isn’t to say that there aren’t some beautiful songs found on Zombies on Broadway. Cuts like “Fire Escape” truly stand out amongst its colorless siblings (seriously, just imagine this song being played during the closing scene of a coming-of-age John Hughes film), and it makes up for the dull, hollow instrumentation that occupies the remainder of the album, “So Close” in particular.
All in all, this album is fine and if you’re a die-hard fan of McMahon’s, you’ll probably find much more positive things to say about it. But for his occasional listeners, giving this album a whirl simply will leave you unchanged (and if you’re okay with that, go ahead and stream it). It’s good for mindless listening, but it lacks the gravitas and risk-taking that we expected from an artist like Andrew McMahon. I’m hoping Zombies will sound better live, though, because I did buy a ticket to see him on his upcoming tour…