Jack's Mannequin

On Jack's Mannequin's optimistic new single "The Resolution," vocalist/pianist/songwriter Andrew McMahon sings, "I'm alive, but I don't need a witness, to know that I survived." The 26-year-old could just as easily be referencing the fact that he's transcended his teenage band (piano-punks Something Corporate) as he is that the cancer that threatened to derail his career is in remission. But The Glass Passenger, JM's eagerly awaited — and long-in-the-making — follow-up to 2005 debut Everything in Transit, is by no means fixated on his sickness. "Swim" is a slower, uplifting piano ballad — a lazy, hazy day twirling on a swing set — while the brisker "Suicide Blonde" has a muscular, fuller-band sound with echoes of '70s glam swagger and jaunty Britpop bounce. The rest of the hook-happy Passenger floats by on lushly orchestrated atmospheres, with an emphasis on the shadier side of sunny California pop (Jackson Browne, Fleetwood Mac) and classic-rock kingpins (Tom Petty, The Who). All of these influences emerge even more live: With a full band behind him, the spidery McMahon scurries out from behind — if not climbs on — his piano, and frequently breaks out covers such as Petty's "American Girl" or Springsteen's "I'm on Fire."


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