Sunday, October 26, 2008

Jack’s Mannequin Bares All In New Album

“Glass Passenger” musician to perform in St. Pete

Zach Fraser

Published: Wednesday, October 15, 2008

“The Glass Passenger,” the latest release from Jack’s Mannequin, chronicles the battles and struggles singer/songwriter Andrew McMahon experienced in his successful battle against acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

The album is something extremely rare and special in its entirety.
McMahon reveals his lyrical genius once again in making “The Glass Passenger” a musical memoir confessing the struggles we hope to never have to face.

“Beat my body like a rag doll; you stuck the needles in my hip. Said ‘we’re not gonna lie son, you just might die. Get you on that morphine drip, drip.”

Lyrics such as these, although not as metaphorical as most on “The Glass Passenger,” are just a glimpse at what life on the wrong end of a diagnosis can entail.

One of the most entertaining attributes “The Glass Passenger” offers is the privilege to tap into such a personal and emotional issue of McMahon’s life.

This leads to not only musical satisfaction but a complete and utter appreciation for your life, truly showing how volatile it can become at any moment.

At first, I tried to compare “The Glass Passenger” with Jack’s Mannequin’s first and highly successful release, “Everything in Transit.” After much criticism, skepticism and such on both releases, I’ve realized that to compare these two albums falls short on all means of comparison.

They are indeed as night and day as they come.

Sure, piano rock is the common theme throughout, but there is much more here, I assure you.

Jack’s Mannequin’s first release had the upbeat California rock associated with McMahon while “The Glass Passenger” progresses to a more mature and meaningful sound also synonymous with McMahon.

“Everything in Transit” offered more of a CD full of singles, while “The Glass Passenger” gives you the overall experience of a complete album.
The maturity and progression from the first album to the second makes a musical statement many bands are afraid to make today.

Songs like, “Spinning” is sure to win listeners’ hearts over with its contagious chorus.

While slower and more melodic songs like, “Annie Use Your Telescope” will connect with fans on a completely different level.

The first single off the album, “The Resolution” is gaining radio play and positive feedback daily.

The song moves along while McMahon preaches, “Yeah I’m alive, I don’t need a witness to know that I survived, I’m not looking for forgiveness” making anyone who listens surely smile instantly.

Jack’s Mannequin proves that quality over quantity really does matter as “The Glass Passenger,” their second release, showcases their musical abilities with such precision and detail that it is surely influential on all bands out there today.

Overall, I’d give it a 4 out of 5.

Make sure to catch Jack’s Mannequin at the state theater this Sunday, Oct. 19 at 7 p.m.

Supporting acts include Treaty of Paris and Eric Hutchinson.
Local alternative rock station 97x will be there promoting the show all night, so come by and check it out!

For more information on upcoming shows visit

To listen to tracks from “The Glass Passenger” visit

Monday, October 13, 2008

“Early Love” Surely to Brighten Your Day

Zach Fraser

Published: Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Line-up changes, touring issues, and label conflicts are about as much any band can tolerate from the ruthless record industry today and I assure you, Brighten are no strangers to these commonplace difficulties.

Most bands when faced with these hardships implode and call it a day on the very demanding music business.

I’m glad to see that Brighten has persevered through all of these obstacles, proving that their stint on the scene has more to do with the music and less with riding the bandwagon of Urban Outfitters and MTV airtime on “The Hills.”

Brighten open up late 2008 with their EP, “Early Love,” a successful attempt at providing us all with catchy choruses, melodic interludes and love ballads that don’t run dry after the first listen.

Yes, a lot can be said about the direction indie-pop has taken in the last two years; the genre has almost become synonymous with emotionless, trendy, and flat.

“Early Love,” on the contrary, works toward bringing back the sincerity and heart to the music we all miss.

Brighten begins their seven-song EP with “Carolina,” an infectious ballad that surely will be in the back of your head throughout your day.

It’s a warm and uplifting track where the chorus reverberates throughout the song.

“Early Love” doesn’t waste any time in the next few tracks, all showcasing Brighten’s central theme: love.

Whether it’s their ups or their downs, they’re all here on “Early Love.”

Track number four, “We Are Birds,” is by far my favorite song on the EP.

The song is a simple cry of love which comes out, well, very cute (trust me, I searched for many words other than cute that would better show my masculinity, but it really is just that).

“Swing,” the track directly following “We Are Birds,” changes the pace and mood of “Early Love.”

It shows a different side of the band with its hard sound and unsympathetic lyrics such as, “You’ve got that kiss of death and I’m not attracted to alcoholic veins.”

Overall not a bad song and I do appreciate the attempt of an unforgiving song guys, but seriously, killed my happiness buzz.

Let’s stick with less distortion and more cheerful lyrics please.

The last two songs on “Early Love” put the warm sentiment back into your blood stream with “Love Me Honestly” and “What She Really Wants” nicely wrapping up the roughly 23 minute long EP.

The performance on “Early Love” by Brighten puts a smile on your face and a longing for love in your life.

The overall effect might not only come in listener satisfaction, but in anticipation as well for a band definitely to watch in 2009.

I’d give this CD a rating of 4.5/5. For more information on Brighten and to listen to tracks from their latest album “Early Love,” visit

Zach can be reached at